TOKYO, Oct.3 (Reuters) – Japan will establish a significantly large supplementary budget immediately after the next general election to ease pandemic pain and support long-term growth in areas such as green, digital and infrastructure, said Sunday a heavyweight of the ruling party.
“What needs to be addressed first are vaccinations. This is the strongest measure against coronaviruses,” Akira Amari, newly appointed general secretary of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), told the political debate program of the public channel NHK.
Japan is expected to increase the vaccination rate from around 60% currently to 70% to 80%, levels considered to ease public anxiety, Amari said.
“We have responded with various measures by drawing on emergency budgetary reserves. Now that the reserves are drying up, we will compile a considerably large supplementary budget immediately after the election.”
Given dire public finances, the next Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, may have no choice but to sell more government bonds to fund a pandemic relief plan which, according to him, would be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Read more
Kishida, a former foreign minister, won the LDP leadership race on Wednesday and is almost certain to succeed Yoshihide Suga on Monday due to the party’s majority in the powerful lower house.
Kishida is expected to be officially elected prime minister when parliament is convened on Monday and will announce a cabinet reshuffle later today.
Amari, a former economy minister seen as a key ally of Japan’s oldest prime minister Shinzo Abe, was appointed secretary general on Friday.
Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Christopher Cushing
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