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The Diet enacted a 6.79 trillion yen supplementary budget Thursday that is intended to put the nation’s fragile economy back on track for a full recovery. The second supplementary budget for fiscal 1999, which began April 1, passed the Upper House plenary session with support from the ruling coalition parties — the Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and New Komeito. The debt-based extra budget will help finance the 18 trillion yen economic stimulus package, the ninth this decade. The government hopes pump-priming effects of the budget will begin showing in early 2000. Of the 6.79 trillion yen, 3.5 trillion yen is earmarked for public works such as urban highways and 773.3 yen billon is for expanded loan guarantees to small and midsize firms struggling amid the credit crunch. The extra budget also includes 911 billion yen to finance the postponement of premium payments for the public nursing-care system debuting in April, a measure widely seen as a voter-wooing gesture by the ruling coalition. The budget will raise the general account budget to 89.02 trillion yen, up from the initially prepared 81.86 trillion yen. The government will issue 7.57 trillion yen in new bonds to cover the latest supplementary budget as well as the estimated 1.44 trillion yen shortfall in tax revenues. The bond issues will total 38.62 trillion yen in the current fiscal year, making government bonds account for 43.4 percent of state revenues, a postwar record.

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