Ruling parties push 2002 draft budget through Lower House

Rejecting calls for priority to be given to look into the allegations about Suzuki Muneo's meddling in the Foreign Ministry, the three ruling parties on March 6 used their majority to steamroller the draft national budget for fiscal 2002 through the House of Representatives.

The motion of recompilation of the budget proposed by the four opposition parties -- the Japanese Communist , Democratic, Liberal, and Social Democratic parties -- was voted down.

JCP Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo at a press conference in the Diet building said that the railroading through of the 2002 budget is outrageous, as there are suspicions that tax money has been improperly used to the benefit of the corrupt relationships between politicians, government officials, and business people.

It is now clearer that Suzuki's influence was not only exercised on the Foreign Ministry. Shii said that railroading through the budget is tantamount to putting an end to the investigation which has only just begun.

Although the government has admitted that the budget includes some suspicions items in connection with Suzuki's scandal and although Finance Minister Shiokawa Masajuro said that some corrections will be necessary, the government wanted the budget bill passed by all means.

The finance minister called for public trust in the government promise that the suspicion should not affect the budget execution.

Shii pointed that the budget will only help demand and the personal consumption to decline further and worsen the economic situation, contrary to the government explanation that the budget should be adopted as soon as possible in order to stimulate the economy. (end)