Monday , March 20 2023

Japan ruling bloc set to agree extra budget for economic relief: Kyodo

Japan’s ruling coalition is set to agree on a supplementary budget to fund economic relief measures to help households and small business cope with surging fuel costs, Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday.

An agreement between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its small Komeito party ally will likely confirm that the extra budget will be prepared by the end of the current parliamentary session in June, Kyodo said.

The move comes as a surprise. To quickly roll out the relief measures, the government previously sought to tap contingency reserves of up to 5.5 trillion yen ($42.87 billion) which were put aside in the fiscal 2022 budget and which it can freely use.

With upper house elections likely early in July, political pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government to spend heavily on stimulus measures to prop up the flagging economy and ease the pain of rising costs of living.

The formation of a supplementary budget could open the door for policymakers to spend big on economic stimulus, possibly including additional bond issues to cover the cost.

That could further enlarge the industrial world’s heaviest public debt burden, which is more than twice the size of Japan’s annual economic output.

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