Opposition to push for budget revisions

In a bid to put concerted pressure on the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, three non-Communist opposition forces agreed Jan. 21 to discuss joint efforts to call for revisions to a government-proposed supplementary budget.Members of the Diet affairs steering committee from Shinshinto, the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan and Taiyoto agreed to start discussions on Jan. 24, according to Kansei Nakano, Shinshinto’s committee chief. It will be the first time for the three parties to conduct joint actions in the Diet.According to Nakano, Shinshinto, the DPJ and Taiyoto are all opposed to the government’s plan for huge outlays to finance public works projects. “We hope that part of the ruling alliance will join our efforts,” Nakano told reporters, apparently referring to New Party Sakigake. While Sakigake is one of the LDP’s allies, it is opposed to the extra budget plan.The 5.2 trillion yen extra budget plan was compiled late last month after long discussions between the LDP and its two allies — the Social Democratic Party and Sakigake. The LDP, however, was isolated at the end of the discussion because the conservative party insisted that 1.6 trillion yen in government construction bonds be issued to cover a part of the extra budget.Sakigake has criticized the move, calling it an extravagance at a time when the government urgently needs to cut expenditures to pull the nation out of the current fiscal crisis. The SDP has put off making clear its official stance on the supplementary budget plan.