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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 September 29 - October 5  > Kan Cabinet’s ‘policy contest’ to limit popular requests
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2010 September 29 - October 5 [POLITICS]

Kan Cabinet’s ‘policy contest’ to limit popular requests

September 30, 2010
The Kan Cabinet has announced that it will set up a special category of one trillion yen in the FY 2011 national budget and hold a “policy contest” to decide which budget requests will be included in the category.

The total amount of budget requests made by government ministries and agencies to be included in the special category is about three trillion yen, most of which are connected with citizens’ urgent demands. Since the government intends to allocate only one trillion yen to the newly-established category, about two-thirds of the urgent needs expressed would not be met.

For instance, the Education Ministry’s requests include budgets for smaller class sizes at public schools and scholarship programs for high school students as well as subsidies for national universities.

The Labor Ministry has called for subsidies for SMEs to raise their employees’ hourly wages as well as for companies to hire more new graduates to be covered with the one trillion yen allocated to the special category.

On the other hand, while reducing the amount of its main budget request, the Defense Ministry has included the so-called sympathy budget for the stationing of the U.S. forces (185.9 billion yen) as well as expenditures for the missile defense system and fuel (475.5 billion yen) in its requests for the special category, showing its assumption that such requests cannot be ignored by the government.

In the “policy contest,” the government has called on citizens to send their opinions about ministry budget requests for the special category. A government panel, consisting of Dietmembers and intellectuals, will examine the public demands and narrow the options, and the prime minister will make the final decision. However, it is not clear if the government will choose panel members who are capable of appropriately reflecting citizens’ demands.
- Akahata, September 30, 2010
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