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Kishida vows to reassure people amid soaring prices

  • May 25, 2022
  • , Jiji Press , 7:17 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, May 25 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday vowed to give people a sense of security at a time when the country faces soaring prices of crude oil and other goods.

“The (price) situation is unpredictable, and we will reassure people by swiftly responding to possible unexpected demand for fiscal spending that may arises under the current uncertain situation,” Kishida told a plenary meeting of the House of Representatives.

Deliberations on the government’s draft fiscal 2022 supplementary budget kicked off at the meeting of the lower chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament, in which Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki delivered a fiscal policy speech and representatives from the ruling and opposition parties posed questions over the budget plan.

The draft budget, which features general-account spending of 2,700.9 billion yen including for emergency measures to fight soaring prices, will be covered in full by deficit-covering government bonds. Under the draft budget, 1,520 billion yen is set aside to replenish reserve funds, part of which has already been used to finance some of the emergency measures.

Kishida voiced concern that a decrease in people’s real purchasing power may have negative effects on Japan’s economy, such as by putting downward pressure on consumption and corporate activities.

On his signature policy of realizing a new form of capitalism, the prime minister said that the government will put together by June a vision including a drastic expansion of the Nippon Individual Savings Account (NISA) small-lot investment scheme and other measures. The government will then discuss specific measures it should take from a broad perspective, he added.

Regarding whether to increase taxation on financial income, Kishida said that a comprehensive study will be made in the course of tax system review talks by the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito.

The government has been asked to lower the category for the novel coronavirus under a related law from Class II, the second highest on the five-stage alert scale, to Class V, alongside seasonal influenza.

Kishida, however, said, “The change is not realistic as the country is now on maximum alert in a transitional period for heading back to normal.”

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