Diet poised to pass stopgap budget

Kyodo

The ruling and opposition parties reached a compromise Tuesday for the Diet to approve later in the week a stopgap budget for fiscal 2012, after the two sides failed to pass a full-scale budget for the year that starts April 1, lawmakers said.

The stopgap budget, financing several trillion yen in public spending for the first six days of April, will be the first of the kind in 14 years.

The government will make a similar arrangement on a special account created for reconstruction work stemming from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, considering the urgent need for financing in the devastated areas.

The emergency steps were necessary to cover a few days as the ¥90.33 trillion budget for the full fiscal year will automatically come into force on April 6.

The full budget was passed by the Lower House earlier this month, but it has been stuck in the opposition-controlled Upper House. In situations like this, the Constitution gives precedence to the Lower House.

The Finance Ministry will draft the stopgap budget for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Cabinet to submit to the Diet. Senior lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties in the Upper House Budget Committee met and agreed Tuesday that both chambers will approve the provisional budget Friday.