Diet budgets ¥4 trillion for rebuilding

by Kanako Takahara

Staff Writer

The Diet enacted a ¥4.15 trillion supplementary budget Monday aimed at funding immediate efforts to rebuild from the March 11 disasters after the House of Councilors unanimously passed it at a plenary session.

A separate bill also cleared the Upper House that allows the government to divert ¥2.5 trillion from funds initially secured to maintain its basic pension contributions at 50 percent for the fiscal year.

The extra budget will be used to finance measures including debris disposal, infrastructure restoration and construction of temporary housing.

The focus will now shift to the much anticipated second supplementary budget, which is expected to address full-scale reconstruction — including the redesign and rebuilding of entire cities and towns and funding for the initiative.

“I would like to draft (the second budget) after the Reconstruction Design Council maps out a blueprint and a basic policy,” said Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda at an Upper House Budget Committee meeting earlier in the day.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan meanwhile said his remark the day before promising temporary housing will be ready for all evacuees by mid-August was his personal view, not one coordinated with all the ministries.