• Compiled From Kyodo, Staff Report


Prime Minister Taro Aso’s Cabinet said Tuesday its entire roster will accept the planned government cash handout.

The move follows Aso’s declaration the night before that he would take the money, after remaining equivocal for months.

“I asked the Cabinet members to cooperate” and follow a decision made by the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling coalition, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told a news conference.

Meanwhile, a financial committee in the opposition-controlled Upper House on Tuesday rejected legislation related to the fiscal 2008 second extra budget backing Prime Minister’s controversial ¥2 trillion cash benefit program.

An Upper House plenary session was set to endorse that rejection Wednesday. The bills, however, are expected to be enacted in a second vote on the strength of the ruling bloc’s two-thirds majority in the Lower House

This means the cash handout scheme could theoretically begin as early as Thursday, although municipal offices across the country are struggling to decide the schedule and process for distributing the money to all registered residents, including foreigners.

“I received no objection from any members and we have effectively reached a consensus,” Kawamura said.

“As the Cabinet decided its policy, it is natural to act as a member of the Cabinet,” said Akira Amari, state minister in charge of administrative reforms, who by agreeing to accept the money reversed his initial position.

Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano said: “I would like to follow properly what has been decided. . . . I will decide how to use the money after consulting with my wife.”

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