2013 budget guidelines to be set out

Kyodo

The Cabinet is expected to agree on guidelines for the compilation of an initial budget for fiscal 2013 as early as Sept. 17, lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan said.

Finance Minister Jun Azumi admitted Friday that the government is lagging in drawing up the next fiscal year’s budget due to the fierce wrangling over legislation to raise the consumption tax. The Cabinet normally sets out the guidelines in July and asks government ministries and agencies to submit their requests by the end of August.

“I feel we are behind schedule by about a week,” Azumi told reporters, suggesting the submission deadline could be delayed until September.

The government and the DPJ have agreed that the 2013 budget will focus on stimulating economic growth through spending on the environment, as well as on the medical, agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.

The budget’s basic principles also confirm that the government will not set an upper limit for requests related to postdisaster reconstruction projects in the Tohoku region, and pledged to treat measures in response to the nuclear crisis as the priority.

The government usually drafts an initial budget in late December before the new fiscal year begins in April.