The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito reached a final agreement Tuesday to distribute on a limited basis merchandise coupons worth about 700 billion yen.

According to the plan, coupon recipients would be limited to those on senior welfare pensions or special allowances for the disabled, those who are 65 years or older and exempt from municipal taxes, and families with children 15 years or younger.

The total recipients would number about 35 million, and each would receive 20,000 yen worth of coupons, the parties agreed.

At a meeting of their secretaries general following working-level discussions on the coupon scheme, the LDP and New Komeito also agreed to promote discussions on other policy matters. “We have agreed it is important to create consensus on various policy issues between the two parties,” LDP Secretary General Yoshiro Mori told a news conference.

Mori’s New Komeito counterpart, Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, said that his opposition party would try to work with the LDP to draft the types of policies the public wants. “We would like to have active discussions with the LDP to realize policies that would benefit the people,” Fuyushiba said.

But the head of New Komeito, Takenori Kanzaki, ruled out the possibility of an alliance with the LDP. The stated policy of the newly merged party is to cooperate with the LDP or the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition force, on an issue-by-issue basis.

Other details of the plan:

1) The coupons will be valid for six months; 2) They cannot be converted into cash; 3) Municipal governments will be responsible for their distribution, and the coupons will be valid only in that municipality; 4) Each coupon will be, in principle, worth 1,000 yen; 5) The central government will bear the cost of printing and distribution; 6) Municipal governments will decide which shops will be able to accept the coupons.

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