The nation's ¥19.1 trillion third supplementary budget is expected to clear the Upper House on Thursday evening amid relentless criticism of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga over his administration’s novel coronavirus response.

During four days of budget committee debates inside both chambers of the Diet, Suga came under heavy fire from opposition lawmakers for not acting fast enough to curb the spread of the virus, and for the administration's plans to enact amendments to disease control legislation that would have laid criminal punishments on people and businesses who flout COVID-19 guidelines. Ultimately, the opposition's arguments found more support, and the ruling coalition eventually agreed Thursday to drop the provisions on criminal punishment, while keeping in place stipulations for fines.

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