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Monday, Oct. 22, 2012
Pass the bond flotation bill
Due to the Diet's state of confusion, there is no predicting when a bill will be enacted to float bonds to cover some 40 percent of the fiscal 2012 budget. If this situation continues, it is inevitable that people's lives will be seriously impacted in a negative manner. The public's trust in the legislature is at stake. Both the ruling and opposition camps should make compromises to allow the bill to be enacted as quickly as possible.
The Democratic Party of Japan hopes to start an extraordinary Diet session in late October. Although it asked the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito to cooperate, they are reluctant to do so because the government and the DPJ won't clarify when the Lower House will be dissolved for a general election.
With budget funds expected to run out toward the end of November, the Noda Cabinet adopted measures in September to curb spending, which it hopes will save about ¥5 trillion from September to November. But if the bonds flotation bill is not enacted, the situation will become much worse. The government may be forced to cut back on payment of such items as grants to municipalities, expenditures for the activities of the Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Coast Guard, income compensation for individual farmers and pensions for former members of the Imperial armed forces and relatives of the war dead. If this happens, Japan's security, the lives of farmers and elderly people, and the finances of municipalities will be greatly affected.
The Finance Ministry says that even with these measures, the budget funds will not last through the end of the year. Revisions of particular laws will become necessary to reduce expenditures for such items as livelihood assistance, welfare for disabled people, the public health insurance plan for the self-employed and unemployed, compulsory education and salaries for national public servants. But given its current state, it is clear that the Diet would be unable to revise the individual laws.
The government and political parties must take a serious view of the budget situation. If the Diet impasse is not solved, government organizations may become unable to provide the public with essential services and social stability could weaken.