Lower House ready to pass record ¥96.7 trillion draft budget


Staff Writer

The Lower House is set to pass the government’s fiscal 2016 budget proposals Tuesday, making enactment of the record draft totaling ¥96.7 trillion all but certain.

In Monday’s Lower House Budget Committee meeting, lawmakers including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wrapped up deliberations on a range of topics from fiscal health to electoral reform. The committee officially decided to hold a vote on the draft budget Tuesday.

Because the coalition of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito hold a majority in the Lower House, the budget is certain to clear the committee Tuesday and pass a plenary session later in the day, after which it will be sent to the Upper House.

Passage in the Lower House would represent a huge load off the mind of the ruling LDP, because it would effectively pave the way for the implementation of the new budget from April, the beginning of the next fiscal year.

Failure to enact the budget by the end of March, however unlikely, would see the LDP scrambling to compile a stopgap budget plan to prevent a budgetary vacuum.

The Constitution stipulates that budget plans be automatically enacted by the Diet 30 days after they clear the Lower House, regardless of whether the Upper House approves them.

The biggest-yet draft budget reflects the government’s intention to boost child-rearing assistance, provide the elderly with more support, alleviate the costs of education and better revitalize regional economies.