Japan lower house OK’s extra budget

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The House of Representatives passed on Wednesday the government’s fiscal 2021 supplementary budget designed to finance measures aimed at recovering the country’s economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extra budget for the year ending in March 2022 cleared the lower house by a majority vote with support mainly from the ruling coalition. It is expected to be enacted Monday after deliberations at the House of Councillors.

The supplementary budget features record general-account spending of ¥35,989.5 billion.

The measures include distributing ¥100,000 in benefits to people aged 18 or younger, providing points worth up to ¥20,000 to holders of the My Number social security and taxation identification card and raising the pay of nursing and care workers.

The government will issue ¥22,058 billion of bonds to fund the extra budget, bringing their outstanding amount above ¥1,000 trillion for the first time at the end of fiscal 2021.

Motions submitted separately by the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and Democratic Party for the People calling for revisions to the supplementary budget were dismissed at a meeting of the lower house Budget Committee earlier on Wednesday.

Speaking at the committee meeting, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his government is committed to fighting the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant and a possible sixth COVID-19 wave.

“We’re determined to bring back people’s sense of security and to protect their health and their lives,” he said.