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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 January 28 - February 3  > 2nd supplementary budget with pork-barrel spending enacted
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2009 January 28 - February 3 [POLITICS]

2nd supplementary budget with pork-barrel spending enacted

January 28, 2009
The second extra budget for the current fiscal year, which includes the payment of cash handouts as its centerpiece, became law.

After the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors adopted different bills, a conference was held between the two chambers for two days but was unable to iron out the differences. Then, the House of Representatives Speaker Kono Yohei on January 27 declared the Lower House bill approved by the Diet in line with the constitutional provision.

At the joint conference of the two Houses, the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties insisted on including the controversial “cash handouts” as part of the stimulus plan, but the Democratic and Social Democratic parties demanded its deletion although they were supportive of other items of the extra budget, including items that will adversely affect livelihoods.

At a separate conference of the two Houses, held to discuss a bill on the extra budget for government agencies such as the Japan Finance Corporation (JFC), Japanese Communist Party representative Daimon Mikishi and representatives of other parties opposed the bill.

In this extra budget, the government plans to allow the JFC (a public corporation wholly owned by the government, established in 2008) to purchase major corporations’ commercial paper (as much as two trillion yen) through the Development Bank of Japan (established in 1999).

Daimon stressed that such a wasteful and dangerous spending scheme must be foiled.

Later in the day, JCP Diet Policy Committee Chair Kokuta Keiji held a news conference and stated that the JCP in both houses spoke on behalf of voters, 70 or 80 percent of whom are opposed to Aso’s 2 trillion-yen cash handout program.

The ruling bloc is to blame for passage of the inadequate draft budget after only three days of discussion, he said.

Kokuta also stated that it was irresponsible of the Democratic Party to suddenly ignore and break an agreement of the opposition parties that the House of Councilors needs to carry out an intensive discussion as well as hold a public hearing on the extra budget.

“The urgent need now is for the Diet to make a thorough discussion on the very issues that are seriously affecting people’s livelihoods,” he stated.

“In the later Diet session that discusses the FY 2009 budget, the JCP will make every effort to have the government seriously deal with the employment crisis, options for economic recovery, and careful review of the Japan-U.S. military alliance,” Kokuta added.
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