(Tokyo Shimbun: February 26, 2016 – p. 6)
In light of economic circumstances such as the yen’s appreciation and low stock prices, the ruling parties have already started calling for an additional economic stimulus package.
On Feb. 25, Ryu Shionoya, acting chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Policy Research Committee, pointed out at the party’s economic revitalization headquarters that “it is necessary to look into economic measures while monitoring the situation.” Views calling for public spending were also raised by other participants in the meeting.
LDP General Council Chairman Toshihiro Nikai emphasized on an Internet program on Feb. 24 the need for a supplementary budget, saying: “I expect Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to adopt an assertive economic policy, including public spending.”
Komeito Research Council Chairman Noritoshi Ishida said on Feb. 24 at a press meeting: “If economic measures are judged to be necessary, they should be taken without hesitation.”
The reason behind such comments is that the lawmakers are concerned about an economic slowdown amid talk about the possibility of concurrent elections for the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors, in addition to the Upper House election in the summer.
However, if the ruling parties judge it necessary to come up with economic stimulus measures during deliberations on the fiscal 2016 budget, they will be criticized by the opposition parties, who will tell them to “present a new budget bill.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga took a cautious stance toward adopting an additional stimulus package, saying, “The Japanese economy’s fundamentals are in good shape.” (Slightly abridged)