Diet may see extra budget in January, Koizumi says

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi indicated Thursday that the government may submit a supplementary 2002 budget to the Diet in January.

“We should consider (compiling an extra budget) flexibly while taking into account the tax revenue trend in December and a planned antideflation package as well as other economic developments,” Koizumi told the House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting.

The prime minister dismissed plans to earmark additional fiscal provisions during the ongoing extraordinary Diet session, which runs through Dec. 13.

“The government can deal with the current economic situation without submitting an extra budget to the ongoing Diet session,” Koizumi told the committee.

Meanwhile, Financial Services Minister Heizo Takenaka told the same meeting that he decided to postpone the announcement of an interim report on the disposal of banks’ bad loans so it can be timed with the unveiling of a safety net for jobs later this month.

“We have to deal with the safety net issue at the same time,” Takenaka said.

Takenaka also said there were views among lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that financial markets may be shaken if the report was released before the unveiling of a comprehensive antideflation package.

In addition, he said he has complained to Newsweek magazine for quoting him as saying no bank is too big to fail.

“I didn’t make such comments,” Takenaka said. “I’m complaining to the publisher and demanding a correction.”