Sakaguchi calls for extra budget

Labor minister Chikara Sakaguchi called Friday for the compilation of an extra fiscal 2002 budget to create jobs and help the unemployed.

“It would be most desirable if it came during the current session,” Sakaguchi told a news conference, referring to the extraordinary Diet session that began Friday and will run through Dec. 13.

Sakaguchi, minister of health, labor and welfare, said that even if the submission of the bill were to be postponed to the ordinary Diet session scheduled to convene in January, it would still be better than not compiling an extra budget at all.

“We could start drafting (employment) measures if it is certain that the bill will be submitted to the ordinary session,” he said.

Decisions on whether and when to compile a supplementary budget should be made soon, Sakaguchi said.

The ministry will probably compile employment measures by Oct. 25, he said.

Cabinet members are split on the extra budget issue. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has ruled it out for the extraordinary Diet session, but industry minister Takeo Hiranuma on Wednesday called for the introduction of extra budget-related bills during the ordinary session.