Tokyo, April 20 (Jiji Press)–Calls for a supplementary government budget for fiscal 2021 emerged from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday, as the government is seen declaring a third COVID-19 state of emergency.
“We don’t rule out any options,” Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai told a press conference, in response to a question whether the party aims to get an extra budget enacted during the ongoing parliamentary session.
“We’re not considering compiling a supplementary budget at the moment, but we’ll take appropriate action,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a separate news conference.
In the LDP, concerns are growing that the third state of emergency could deal a fatal blow to ailing small businesses.
On Tuesday, Osaka Prefecture asked the government to declare a state of emergency in the western prefecture as its medical system is under severe strain.
Osaka plans to request a wide range of businesses to shut down under a state of emergency.
“Fresh aid money would be needed for affected businesses,” a government source said.
Meanwhile, many in the Finance Ministry, which emphasizes fiscal discipline, are cautious about an extra budget after the fiscal 2021 regular budget with record general-account spending of 106,609.7 billion yen was enacted only last month. The budget includes 5 trillion yen reserved for future coronavirus measures.
An LDP source admitted that calls for an extra budget are partly linked to the next general election, which has to happen before the term for House of Representatives members ends on Oct. 21.
“It’s possible to extend the current parliamentary session” to enact a supplementary budget, a senior LDP official said. The session is now scheduled to end on June 16.
The opposition camp also seems ready to support an extra budget. “We don’t completely rule out” the possibility of accepting an extra budget, said Tetsuro Fukuyama, secretary-general of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.
Democratic Party for the People leader Yuichiro Tamaki called for providing 100,000 yen in fresh handouts for working generations. “Work to draw up a supplementary budget should be started,” he said.