• Kyodo News


Business leaders urged Prime Minister Taro Aso on Saturday to compile ¥30 trillion in additional economic measures after the main budget for fiscal 2009 clears the Diet.

Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) Chairman Fujio Mitarai and Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Tadashi Okamura made the request during a five days of meetings with a special financial panel that was convened at the prime minister’s office.

“Given that the supply-demand gap stands at around ¥25 trillion, (additional steps need to be) at least ¥30 trillion,” Mitarai told the meeting. Okamura stressed the need for Aso to beef up cash flows, saying the situation for medium-size companies has been rapidly worsening.

But Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano, who participated in the session on economics, told reporters after the meeting, “We need to examine the size carefully. We cannot immediately respond, just like ‘OK, we will do it.’ “

In the session on social insurance earlier in the day, Makoto Yuasa, an advocate for homeless people and laid-off workers, said the government also needs to offer relief to people who are ineligible for any of the existing relief measures.

“The government needs to send a message that it will save these hard-pressed people,” he said, warning that more are losing their jobs and homes not only in manufacturing, but in other fields, such as distribution.

Yuasa, who organized the tent village in Tokyo for temp workers over the New Year’s holidays, pushed for the idea of the government buying up apartments and company dormitories so it can offer those rendered both homeless and jobless by mass layoffs a place to stay.

The meetings were designed to explore fresh ideas for dealing with the recession. Eighty-three experts summoned from diverse range of fields, including economics and government, took part in 10 sessions over five days.

Aso is looking to reflect the experts’ opinions in additional economic measures being discussed by his ruling Liberal Democratic Party and coalition partner New Komeito. He is expected to form an extra budget for fiscal 2009, which begins April 1.

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