• Kyodo

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A Lower House panel approved a bill Friday that will allow the issuance of deficit-covering bonds this current fiscal year, taking a step toward averting a situation in which the government runs out of operating money.

The debt bill, designed to secure more than 40 percent of revenues under the fiscal 2012 budget, is expected to clear the Lower House in a plenary session next Tuesday before being passed on to the opposition-controlled Upper House, where more debate is anticipated.

The Liberal Democratic Party, the biggest member of the opposition camp, was absent when Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan voted with a majority for the bill in the Lower House Financial Affairs Committee.

“I want opposition parties to show a responsible attitude,” Noda said at the committee, calling for cooperation for swift passage of the bill. “If the government coffers dry up, then we will be unable to ensure economic revitalization and protect the people’s lives.”

But the LDP is planning to submit a censure motion against Noda to the Upper House on Wednesday at the earliest, criticizing his handling of Diet affairs and urging him to dissolve the Lower House for a general election as soon as possible.

The LDP’s confrontational stance, which comes as Noda has said he will call an election in the near future, could further delay the potential passage of the bill, stirring fears that the government could become unable to finance its policies.

The Finance Ministry has warned that unless the bill is passed, the country will run out of funds for administrative services as early as October.

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