The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party urged the government Oct. 15 to put public works projects for upgrading agricultural areas into the supplementary budget.It was basically agreed during a meeting of a group of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s Conference on Fiscal Structural Reform the same day that projects determined to be worthy of inclusion should be placed in the extra budget, one senior LDP official said.Despite current fiscal reconsolidation efforts, the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries were instructed to screen the projects to see which qualify for “emergency expenditures” for an extra budget in the current fiscal year.Senior LDP and SDP officials said there was no reason to exclude items that meet requirements for allocations from an additional budget. Participants basically agreed that projects determined to be worthy of inclusion should be placed in the extra budget, the LDP official said.But another participant said Finance Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka attempted to counter such pressures, reiterating that a supplementary budget should only cover outlays needed in an emergency, such as disaster relief. Mitsuzuka told a news conference earlier in the day there should be no loosening of the government’s belt-tightening measures simply for the sake of short-term economic stimulus.

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