TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's government will set up a panel to discuss ways to mitigate the impact next year's scheduled sales tax would have on the economy, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the government could consider fiscal spending and other measures to ensure the tax hike does not hurt the economy.

A previous increase in the tax rate to 8 percent from 5 percent in 2014 pushed the economy into recession.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)

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