Kishida aims to unveil new economic package on April 22

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida aims to unveil a package of emergency economic measures to tackle soaring prices at a press conference as early as April 22, sources familiar with the matter said.

The government is expected to officially adopt the package as early as April 26, the sources said.

But Kishida’s ruling coalition remains split on how to fund the package. His ruling Liberal Democratic Party and junior coalition partner Komeito are expected to begin talks on Monday to narrow differences.

Kishida told parliament on Friday his government planned to dip into budgetary reserves first to fund the package as it sought to act quickly, indicating its cautious stance in response to Komeito’s request to compile a supplementary budget.

The government and the LDP plan to tap into reserve funds totaling 5.5 trillion yen set aside under the government’s fiscal year 2022 budget. One plan is to use some 2 trillion yen to fund the package.

They also plan to develop another economic package after the Upper House elections this summer and develop a supplementary budget for the package.

In its proposal on Thursday, the Komeito urged the government to pass a supplementary budget during the current parliamentary session which is due to end in June.

At a press conference on Friday, Komeito General Secretary Keiichi Ishii called for a supplementary budget to be passed ahead of the Upper House elections.

“If the government dips into the reserve fund, it has to replenish it” through a supplementary budget, Ishii said.

A supplementary budget must be discussed within the budget committees of the two parliamentary chambers.

The government and LDP fear that if the committees meet to discuss a supplementary budget, Kishida will be grilled by opposition lawmakers just before the Upper House poll.

Some government and LDP members are calling for increasing the size of the emergency package to some 3.5 trillion yen or including 100,000 yen in cash per person to needy households as part of the package in a bid to get the Komeito to drop its request for a supplementary budget.

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