Business

Japanese government submits draft of ¥936 billion supplementary budget primarily earmarked for disaster recovery

Kyodo

On the opening day of the fall Diet session, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe submitted a draft supplementary budget for fiscal 2018 to fund recovery efforts after a string of natural disasters devastated large areas of the country.

The ¥935.6 billion spending plan unveiled Wednesday would also be used to install air conditioners in schools after soaring temperatures this year raised concerns over students suffering from heat-related illnesses.

The Abe administration hopes to pass the extra budget, which will be added to a record-high ¥97.71 trillion initial budget for the year through March, by early November.

Finance Minister Taro Aso called on lawmakers to swiftly approve the plan in a Lower House speech, saying, “The government and relevant organizations will work together to ensure that the victims will be able to return to their lives as soon as possible.”

Of the envisioned funds, ¥727.5 billion will go toward disaster recovery. Areas around Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures, where more than 200 people were killed by flash floods in July, will receive ¥503.4 billion, while ¥118.8 billion will be earmarked for Hokkaido, which was rocked by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in September.

Osaka and its surrounding area, which was hit by an earthquake in June and September’s Typhoon Jebi, the strongest storm to strike Japan in 25 years, will receive ¥105.3 billion.

The plan also includes ¥108.1 billion for maintenance at public elementary and middle schools across the country, including ¥82.2 billion to install air conditioners and ¥25.9 billion to fix concrete walls after one was toppled by the Osaka quake outside a school in Takatsuki, crushing a 9-year-old girl to death.

The majority of the supplementary budget, or ¥695 billion, will be funded by new government debt. The Abe administration is also planning a second supplementary budget by the end of the year to fund infrastructure repairs.