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By Linda Sieg and Tetsushi Kajimoto TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told lawmakers on Wednesday that he has decided to delay a scheduled sales tax hike by two-and-a-half years, putting his plans for fiscal reforms on the back burner amid more weakness in the economy. The widely-anticipated delay will be welcomed by a majority of voters, who will cast ballots in an upper house election in July. "I want to fullfill my responsibility by accelerating Abenomics more and more," Abe told a gathering of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Wednesday.
SoftBank said Wednesday it will sell at least $7.9 billion worth of its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, as the Japanese firm looks to pay down a whopping debt load. The mobile carrier, led by colourful billionaire Masayoshi Son, first invested in Alibaba in 2000, which has since ballooned into what is now considered to be the world's biggest online retailer. In recent years, SoftBank launched an acquisition streak that saw it pick up an assortment of firms, including its $16 billion purchase of US-based mobile giant Sprint.