Photo/IllutrationKristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, gives a news conference in Tokyo on Nov. 25. (Shiki Iwasawa)

The International Monetary Fund urged Japan to raise its consumption tax rate to 15 percent by 2030 to finance spiraling costs due to the rapidly aging population, and warned that failure to do so would hand future generations an unfair burden.

It said the rate will need to increase further, to 20 percent, by 2050 and recommended this be done in stages.

In a statement issued Nov. 25 after an IMF team visited Japan to assess the situation, the organization warned that the cost of postponing such an adjustment would be "substantial and benefit the current generation of elderly citizens to the detriment of future generations.”

The IMF's recommendations came on the heels of an increase in the consumption tax rate to 10 percent from 8 percent last month.

The IMF in the past has dangled the 15 percent rate without mentioning a time frame.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that there will be no need to raise the consumption tax for the next 10 years or so, reflecting the public’s lackluster enthusiasm for any discussion of even higher taxes.

The IMF’s position highlights the fact that Japan’s financial situation is still being closely scrutinized by international institutions.

In a related development, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva stated the same day at a news conference in Tokyo that the 2 percent inflation target that the Bank of Japan is aiming for is fully achievable.