Tokyo, March 22 (Jiji Press)–The Diet, Japan’s parliament, on Tuesday enacted the government’s fiscal 2022 budget, including funding for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
This marked the fourth-earliest enactment of a regular state budget in post-World War II history. The budget for the year from next month calls for general-account spending of 107,596.4 billion yen, registering a record high for 10 years in a row.
The House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, approved the budget by a majority vote, with support mainly from the ruling coalition and the opposition Democratic Party for the People, following the passage by the House of Representatives, the lower chamber, last month.
The DPFP, in a rare move for an opposition party, voted in favor of the state budget, as it did in the Lower House vote, welcoming Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s remarks showing the government’s readiness to consider a temporary gasoline tax cut.
Speaking to reporters after the budget’s enactment, Kishida said, “We’ll consider whether additional (economic) measures are necessary and act flexibly if necessary.”
In the run-up to this summer’s Upper House election, some ruling coalition lawmakers have been asking the government to assemble an additional stimulus package aimed at cushioning the impact of rising prices. The DPFP has been calling for a package worth 20 trillion yen.
Under the budget, social security expenditures and defense spending outlays are both set at record highs. Costs for raising pay for nurses and caregivers are also included.