Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers voiced opposition and frustration Thursday over a package of measures unveiled by the government the day before to accelerate the cleanup of the banking system and fight deflation.
The ruling-party Diet members criticized the plan as they were briefed on it by Financial Services Minister Heizo Takenaka in a joint meeting of the party’s economic panels, according to Hideyuki Aizawa, head of the LDP’s antideflation panel.
“Steps for dealing with the impact of the disposal of nonperforming loans on small and midsize companies and employment are insufficient,” Aizawa quoted one lawmaker as saying.
Another criticized as vague the wording in the package on whether the government will compile a supplementary budget for fiscal 2002, Aizawa said.
The package hinted there may be an extra budget, saying the government will take “necessary measures” after assessing the amount of tax revenues.
When a lawmaker said the government should make clear that it will not allow banks to go bust, Takenaka only replied that he wants to get the message out that the government will not allow the economy to collapse, Aizawa said.
Aizawa said after the meeting that the package was “hastily put together,” and that it included problems, especially in steps for accelerating the purge of bad loans.
Lawmakers in the ruling coalition have criticized Takenaka not only for the more drastic draft of the package he initially put forward, but for what they view as insufficient consultation with the governing parties.
The package unveiled Wednesday called for tougher assessment of major banks’ loan assets. But it watered down a proposal by Takenaka to change accounting rules to sharply curb deferred tax assets a bank can count as core capital, after the plan was shot down by politicians and the nation’s top bankers.
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