The chief Cabinet secretary said Thursday that the government might use reserve funds in the general-account budget for fiscal 2004, rather than creating a supplementary budget, to deal with the serious damage brought by Typhoon Tokage.

The government “will prioritize use of the fiscal 2004 budget and the reserve funds” to help repair the worst typhoon-related damage in 25 years, Hiroyuki Hosoda said, indicating that the government has no immediate plans to draw up an extra budget.

Hosoda told a news conference that the outstanding balance in the reserve funds totaled more than 300 billion yen as of Oct. 15. But he added that the government would consider an auxiliary budget if the amount turned out to be insufficient.

Vice Finance Minister Koichi Hosokawa later told reporters that the government must first determine how much money would be needed to rebuild damaged areas.

“After ascertaining the amount of damage and agreeing on the need to spend public money for restoration, then we can consider using the reserve funds,” Hosokawa said.

The Finance Ministry has yet to consider a supplementary budget option, he added.

Separately, Aoi Ishihara, vice minister for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, told a news conference that rice harvest predictions were sure to fall, given the ferocity of the numerous typhoons that have struck the archipelago.

The farm ministry is currently calculating rice harvest forecasts as of Oct. 15.

Tokage left at least 67 people dead, 21 missing and more than 350 injured as it cleared Japan on Thursday morning.

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