Labor minister Chikara Sakaguchi said Friday that the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry may shelve its plans to raise employment insurance premiums if it secures extra funds under the proposed supplemental budget for fiscal 2002.

“If we get funds from the general account budget, we won’t have to raise employment insurance premiums,” Sakaguchi said.

His remarks suggest that he will ask Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa to use part of the 1.5 trillion yen earmarked for safety net measures in the extra budget for job insurance.

Later in the day, the labor ministry submitted a plan to raise employment insurance premiums to a ministry advisory panel for formal review.

The plan, filed with a subcommittee of the Labor Policy Council, would see employment insurance premiums raised by 0.2 percentage point to 1.6 percent of a worker’s monthly wage in an effort to shore up the tight finances of the government’s employment insurance program.

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