Japan’s Lower House Passes FY24 Budget after Unusual Saturday Deliberations

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A plenary session of the House of Representatives on Saturday

The fiscal 2024 budget passed at a plenary session of the House of Representatives and was sent to the House of Councillors on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, the lower house’s Budget Committee held intensive deliberations, attended by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, before approving the budget with a majority vote from the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito. It is unusual for Diet deliberations to be held on a Saturday.

Even if the upper house does not approve the budget, it is certain to be enacted within the current fiscal year ending on March 31 because the Constitution stipulates the budget will be automatically enacted 30 days after it is sent to the upper house for deliberations.

“The budget includes items that are deeply related to the lives of the people, such as the budget to fund Noto Peninsula Earthquake restoration and recovery efforts,” Kishida said during the intensive deliberations. “It’s a very important issue whether the budget will be approved by the end of the fiscal year.”

The government set the budget for fiscal 2024 at ¥112.57 trillion, partly to cover the reconstruction and recovery efforts.

Regarding lawmakers involved in LDP factions’ violations of the Political Funds Control Law, Kishida reiterated his position that he has to judge the political and moral responsibility after confirming the facts through discussions in the Diet and the LDP’s understanding of the situation.

The tug-of-war between the ruling and opposition camps continued over whether to vote on the budget into late Friday night. After the LDP failed to win the approval of opposition parties to vote on Friday, Itsunori Onodera used his authority as the chairman of the budget committee to schedule a vote.

In response, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan submitted a resolution to dismiss Onedera as chairman to the lower house because necessary deliberations were not held. The party also submitted a no-confidence motion against Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki. However, both were rejected by the LDP and other parties, including Komeito and the Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party).