Japan’s record supplementary budget to boost virus-hit economy

Japan’s parliament on Monday enacted a record supplementary budget worth more than $ 300 billion as part of measures to strengthen the world’s third-largest economy, as the threat of a pandemic lingers on.

The additional budget, greater than the total annual GDP of countries such as ColombiaVietnam and Finland will fund part of the massive virus stimulus package announced last month by new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Upper House lawmakers have approved the additional budget of 35.98 trillion yen ($ 317 billion) for the current fiscal year, with the majority going to economic measures.

They include cash donations for children under 18, grants for small businesses, and salary increases for nurses and caregivers.

Japan adopted three supplementary budgets in fiscal year 2020/21, as manufacturing slowed during the pandemic and restrictions hit nightlife and tourism, but this is the first for 2021/22 and the most important to date.

Kishida became prime minister in October after his predecessor Yoshihide Suga stepped down in part due to public discontent with his response to the pandemic.

After leading the ruling coalition to electoral victory, Kishida quickly announced a record stimulus spending of 56 trillion yen, or about 10 percent of Japan’s total GDP.

The country has recorded fewer than 18,400 Covid-19 deaths in its population of 126 million, despite avoiding severe closures.

Emergency measures targeting evening entertainment and crowd sizes at events were in place in major cities and other parts of Japan for much of the year, but were lifted in October.

This month, the Bank of Japan’s latest Quarterly Tankan Business Survey showed that major manufacturers remain cautious about the path of the economy, with the business climate stable for the quarter.


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