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50-day stopgap budget in pipeline

Kyodo

A stopgap budget for fiscal 2013 is being compiled to fund spending for 50 days from April 1, as the initial budget for the year is unlikely to be enacted until May, Finance Minister Taro Aso said Tuesday.

The Finance Ministry “is working to compile a provisional budget with cooperation from other ministries and agencies,” Aso said at a regular press conference, adding the government wants lawmakers to pass the initial budget as soon as possible.

The provisional budget is expected to be worth over ¥10 trillion, making it the largest since fiscal 1996, as it will cover pension expenses and some large-scale public works projects, Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers said.

The passage of the initial budget for the next fiscal year will be delayed as the government led by the LDP, which returned to power in the Dec. 16 general election, was formed on Dec. 26, meaning budget compilation started later than usual.

Masashi Waki, the LDP’s Diet affairs chief in the House of Councilors, said last week that the party aims to pass the stopgap budget on March 29 at a plenary session of the Upper House.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe late last month submitted to the Diet a record ¥92.61 trillion initial general-account budget for fiscal 2013.

A provisional budget is formulated to ensure necessary expenditures, such as for social security, can be met if the initial budget is unlikely to be enacted by the end of March.