Tokyo, April 28 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government decided Thursday to spend 1,511 billion yen from its fiscal 2022 budget’s reserve funds on measures in a recently adopted comprehensive emergency package to address soaring prices.
The cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at a meeting on the day approved plans to use 1,117 billion yen out of the 5-trillion-yen reserve funds earmarked for novel coronavirus measures and 394 billion yen out of the roughly 500-billion-yen general reserve funds. The emergency package was adopted Tuesday.
Of the money from the general reserve funds, 277.4 billion yen will be for subsidies for May to be paid to oil wholesalers to help curb gasoline and other fuel prices.
Of the funds from the coronavirus reserves, 800 billion yen will be put up to expand a program giving subsidies to local governments as resources for aid to needy people, while 204.3 billion yen will be spent for an initiative to provide low-income child-rearing families with 50,000 yen in cash benefits per kid and 100 billion yen as subsidies to help small companies.
To replenish the reserve funds, the government is considering including 1.5 trillion yen in its planned fiscal 2022 supplementary budget, to be submitted to the ongoing regular session of the Diet, Japan’s parliament.
The opposition bloc has blasted the move as an abuse of the reserve funds, which the government can use at its own discretion without Diet approval.
The use of the reserve funds is “necessary for fully protecting people’s livelihoods,” Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said at a press conference following the cabinet meeting, defending the spending and replenishment. “We will fulfill our duty to explain thoroughly in Diet deliberations.”