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Japan parliament passes 3.287t yen extra budget, focus shifts to TPP bills

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 17:07
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Japan's parliament approved on Tuesday an extra budget for this fiscal year that will help fund Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic stimulus package.

[TOKYO] Japan's parliament approved on Tuesday an extra budget for this fiscal year that will help fund Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic stimulus package.

The 3.287 trillion yen (S$44.07 billion) budget, the second supplementary budget for the year that ends in March 2017, will be mostly funded by 2.75 trillion yen in construction bonds to finance infrastructure spending.

The extra budget brings annual spending to more than 100 trillion yen for the first time in three years, underscoring the difficulty of balancing the need to boost the economy and curb the industrial world's heaviest public debt burden.

One part of the extra budget will help finance a multi-year stimulus package that has a headline total of 28.1 trillion yen, including 7.5 trillion yen in spending by the national and local governments.

The money will be spent on improving the railway network, upgrading ports, shoring up areas prone to natural disaster and improving wages for daycare workers.

With the extra budget out of the way, Mr Abe's government is now set to seek swift approval by parliament of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact.

"We want to pass the TPP legislation as quickly as possible during the current parliament session (that ends on Nov 30), so that we can encourage the United States to follow suit," a government source said.

President Barack Obama's administration intends to make a final push to convince Republican leaders in the US Congress to approve the 12-nation trade deal in its "lame duck" session after the Nov 8 presidential election.

Both Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party candidate, and Republican candidate Donald Trump are opposed to the pact, which is unpopular with US labour unions and environmental groups.

REUTERS