• Kyodo News


The government plans to formulate an extra budget this month that will possibly exceed ¥4 trillion to finance reconstruction work in the quake- and tsunami-hit Tohoku region, a senior lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan said Thursday.

The policy was agreed on during a meeting of the government and senior DPJ lawmakers, Azuma Koshiishi, who heads the DPJ’s Upper House caucus, told reporters.

Koshiishi said “at least ¥4 trillion” will be required for emergency steps incorporated in the first extra budget for fiscal 2011. After working closely with opposition parties, the government will try to submit the extra budget to the Diet before the Golden Week holidays begin April 29.

The government had initially considered drawing up an extra budget of more than ¥3 trillion, but is now seeking to increase funds to speed up reconstruction.

The first tranche of emergency spending will mainly be used to clear rubble, erect temporary housing, restore public facilities and infrastructure, and create jobs, according to DPJ lawmakers.

The planned increase could be covered by issuing construction bonds, the lawmakers said, although Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said it would be “desirable” not to rely on bond issuance.

Edano said the government has yet to finalize the size of the budget, but suggested spending of around ¥4 trillion is likely.

He said, however, that at the same time it wants to include as many necessary measures as possible in the supplementary budget, indicating that total expenditures could even exceed ¥4 trillion.

It will most likely be followed by two more extra budgets, and total expenditures could top ¥10 trillion, the lawmakers said.

For budgetary resources, the government plans to divert around ¥2.5 trillion from funds initially secured to enable it to maintain the level of its contribution to basic pensions at 50 percent in fiscal 2011.

The remainder will mainly be raised by dropping some of its key pledges under the initial budget for the current fiscal year. Monthly child allowances and the introduction of more toll-free highways are now under review.

LDP gets budget say

The Democratic Party of Japan-led government promised Thursday it will reflect a set of proposals submitted by the Liberal Democratic Party in an extra budget to finance reconstruction work in the devastated Tohoku region.

The pledge was conveyed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano during talks with LDP policy chief Shigeru Ishiba at the opposition party’s head office.

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