The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) plans to get more involved with the government’s formulation of the FY19 budget. It will ask the government to present the draft budget with concrete figures of allocations to the party’s divisions for discussion. There is simmering discontent in the LDP regarding Kantei’s predominance over the party in policymaking, and this is a step being taken to boost the party’s presence.
Policy Research Council Chairman Fumio Kishida announced at a news conference on Nov. 21: “In light of criticisms of the party’s diminished discussion and lesser involvement, we will introduce a new process.”
Specifically, the LDP’s basic thinking on the FY19 budget, the “outline of budget formulation,” will be decided by Dec. 10, a few days earlier than usual. Subsequently, the Policy Research Council’s 14 divisions will discuss the Finance Ministry’s proposed budget and compile a list of the LDP’s “main items” of request for revisions by Dec. 14. This will be reported to the party’s General Council before it is presented to the government.
Kishida said: “Based on the party’s requests, each ministry will also be asked to negotiate with the finance minister,” thus indicating his intent to have the discussions at the divisions reflected in the budget.
After the Democratic Party of Japan took over the administration in 2009, the government stopped releasing the “Finance Ministry’s draft budget” to the ministries in 2010 to serve as the basis of negotiations for the proposed budget. This “Finance Ministry’s draft budget” system has not been restored even after the LDP’s return to power. Therefore, there is discontent in the party that “discussions in the divisions are not reflected in the budget and these deliberations merely serve as a means to vent frustrations.”