Japan’s Kamei keeps up call for spending before election

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TOKYO, April 7 (BestGrowthStock) – The People’s New Party, a tiny
coalition partner in Japan’s Democratic Party-led government,
said on Wednesday it would compile a economic stimulus package
larger than its initial 11 trillion yen ($117 billion) proposal
before an election later this year.

Party head Shizuka Kamei, who is also the banking minister,
told reporters he wants to finalise the proposal by mid-May. The
People’s New Party policy chief, Takashi Morita, also asked the
Ministry of Finance for an 11 trillion yen extra budget, Kyodo
News reported.

Kamei has made several calls for big spending since last year
but has been unsuccessful. Finance Minister Naoto Kan has also
said he would rather use 1 trillion yen in budget reserves for
the fiscal year that started on April 1 than draft an extra
budget.

“Timid measures won’t have any impact,” Kamei told reporters.

“We have to take steps that are big and bold.”

Kamei’s party has only three seats in the 480-seat lower
house and five seats in the 242-member upper house, so it needs
to appeal to voters to increase its presence in parliament.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama could face more pressure to
spend big as slumping approval ratings harm the government’s
chances in the upper house election expected around July.

But a large debt burden and the threat of credit ratings
downgrades suggest the government won’t rush to spend more for
fear of worsening the country’s finances and increasing its
borrowing costs.

Japan’s outstanding debts are almost 200 percent of its gross
domestic product, making it the most indebted country among
industrialised nations.

The government will aim to set numerical targets to restore
its fiscal health in a plan due in June, Hatoyama said on Tuesday
after a government draft recommended lowering the debt-GDP ratio.
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Parliament approved last month a record 92.3 trillion yen
budget for the fiscal year starting on April 1 with a record 44.3
trillion yen in new bond issuance.

Stock Market Trading
($1=93.80 Yen)
(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

Japan’s Kamei keeps up call for spending before election