SDP to go along with extra budget

The Social Democratic Party agreed Jan. 24 to support a 2.666 trillion yen supplementary budget for fiscal 1996, enabling Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s minority government to quell an immediate crisis.The supplementary budget has been pushed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The SDP consent paves the way for the spending package to be passed by the House of Representatives next week. Together with local government funds, the projects covered will be worth 5.2 trillion yen.SDP Secretary General Shigeru Ito and party policy chief Kazuo Oikawa told their LDP counterparts, Koichi Kato and Taku Yamasaki, that the SDP will agree to the budget on condition that the LDP-led government opens documents detailing public works projects to be covered by the new outlays. The LDP, led by Hashimoto, needs the support of its allies to pass the budget because it lacks a majority in either of the Diet’s chambers.The SDP had put off a decision on whether to vote for the budget since late last month. The SDP made the decision Jan. 24 to approve the plan so that “political confusion” could be avoided, Oikawa told reporters. New Party Sakigake, another ally of the LDP, decided to oppose the extra budget plan, calling it an extravagance at a time when the nation urgently needs earnest efforts to reduce its debts, which top 442 trillion yen.Under the extra budget, 1.6 trillion yen in government construction bonds will be issued. Sakigake demanded that the amount of government construction bonds to be issued should be less than 1 trillion yen. Three opposition parties on the same day meanwhile agreed to call on the LDP to reduce the extra budget.