Japanese government compiled 2nd supplementary budget bill to alleviate public dissatisfaction with virus measures

29-May-2020 Intellasia | JapanNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

With the compiling of a massive second supplementary budget bill for fiscal 2020, the government is apparently trying to alleviate public dissatisfaction with the economic downturn caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking at a policy consultation meeting of the government and ruling parties Wednesday, prime minister Shinzo Abe touted the a large-scale supplementary budget bill with expressions including: “Burdens [on the virus-affected people] will be largely reduced” and “We will inject an overwhelming amount of money [for that purpose].”

Many of the ruling parties’ members had called for a drastic budget proposal in the face of low public approval ratings for government’s measures against the virus. For some in the government, there was little pressure to restrict expenditures because of recent growing criticism of Abe’s Cabinet mainly due to the postponement of the retirement of Hiromu Kurokawa, former head of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office.

The budget bill appropriated as much as JPY 10 trillion for reserve funds, dramatically larger than the JPY 500 billion allocated for the initial fiscal 2020 budget.

The government and ruling parties are set to end the current Diet session on June 17 as scheduled without extending it, to fend off attacks from opposition parties. Reserve funds whose use is undetermined can be spent at the discretion of the Cabinet. That means additional economic measures can be implemented if deemed necessary even after the end of the current Diet session.

“We created financial backup to ensure that the government can swiftly respond to a given situation after the end of the Diet session,” Natsuo Yamaguchi, the leader of ruling coalition partner Komeito, told reporters Wednesday. A person close to Abe from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said the reserve funds will be able to cover expenses for measures against the novel coronavirus until winter months.

Reserve funds, however, are normally set aside to make up for unforeseeable budgetary shortfalls such as those caused by disasters as stipulated in Article 87 of the Constitution. Jun Azumi, Diet affairs chief of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, warned Wednesday that the large reserve funds should not be deemed to disbursable for any purpose at the convenience of the government. The CDPJ intends to call for committee deliberations while the Diet is not in session, if the government uses the reserve funds after the Diet session is closed.



Category: Japan

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