Friday, March 6, 2015   

Tokyo passes massive national budget
(03-20 18:03)

Japan on Thursday passed its biggest-ever budget, a US$937 billion spending package aimed at propping up growth as consumers brace for the country's first sales tax hike in over 15 years.
A total of 136 lawmakers in the 242-member upper house, controlled by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, voted for the package, against 102 opposition votes, a parliamentary spokesman said. Four other lawmakers did not cast a vote.
The passage came after the lower house last month approved the 95.88 trillion yen budget for the fiscal year starting in April, AFP reports.
The new budget comes as Tokyo pushes for speedy implementation of a US$50 billion stimulus package specially designed to protect Japan's fragile economic recovery, as sales taxes rise to 8.0 percent from 5.0 percent on April 1 -- the first hike since the late nineties.
The increase is seen as crucial to bringing down Japan's eye-watering national debt, which is proportionately the worst among rich nations.
But there are fears it will derail Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policy blitz, dubbed Abenomics, aimed at kickstarting the world's third-largest economy after it suffered years of growth-denting deflation.
"I would like to continue making strong efforts to end deflation and grow the economy,'' the conservative Abe told a parliamentary session Thursday.
The premier, who swept to power in late 2012 on a ticket to rescue Japan's long-lumbering economy, is expected to hold a press briefing Thursday evening.
The proposed package -- up from 92.61 trillion yen for the current fiscal year -- is seen as key to paying for Japan's snowballing health and social welfare costs.
The country's rapidly ageing population is putting pressure on the public purse, while low birth rates are threatening to create a demographic time bomb for the heavily indebted nation.
Japan's projected primary balance deficit -- the shortfall between what the government takes in and what it spends, apart from debt-servicing -- is expected to shrink by 5.2 trillion yen to 18.0 trillion yen.
That means Japan's national debt, now more than twice the size of the economy, will continue to rise, but at a slower pace.
Public spending projects are part of the proposed budget as well as plans to upgrade Japan's defence forces, as China bulks up its military and fears remain over North Korea's nuclear arms potential.   
Other World breaking news:
UNESCO decries Islamists destruction of ancient Iraq city as ‘war crime' (1 hr 53 mins ago)
MERS virus kills 10 more Saudis, casualties surpass 400 (1 hr 56 mins ago)
(Paris Fashion Week) Carven: Flower girls (2 hrs 35 mins ago)
(Paris Fashion Week) Peroxide mania (2 hrs 38 mins ago)
Suspected Bangladeshi rapist fatally lynched by Indian mob (2 hrs 51 mins ago)
Marvin Gaye family lawyer decries Pharrell Williams deceit (03-06 11:54)
(Flight MH370) Search provides lessons for future (03-06 11:38)
(Mobile World Congress) Wireless chargers plug into Qi standard (03-06 11:16)
Harrison Ford comes through yet another real life drama (03-06 11:06)
Harrison Ford survives crash landing of vintage plane (03-06 10:57)

More breaking news >>

© 2015 The Standard, The Standard Newspapers Publishing Ltd.
Contact Us | About Us | Newsfeeds | Subscriptions | Print Ad. | Online Ad. | Street Pts


Home | Top News | Local | Business | China | ViewPoint | CityTalk | World | Sports | People | Central Station | Spree | Features

The Standard

Trademark and Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015, The Standard Newspaper Publishing Ltd., and its related entities. All rights reserved.  Use in whole or part of this site's content is prohibited.   Use of this Web site assumes acceptance of the
Terms of Use, Privacy Policy Statement and Copyright Policy.  Please also read our Ethics Statement.