Japan’s Cabinet Agrees on Second Disaster Recovery Budget

Posted July 5th, 2011 at 6:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The Japanese Cabinet has approved a $25-billion special budget to finance relief and recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The ministers agreed Tuesday not to issue new bonds to finance the second supplementary budget for this fiscal year but to use leftover funds from last year.

The Cabinet will submit its plan to parliament July 15 and hopes to pass it by the end of the month.

In May, Japan passed its first extra budget to help disaster-hit regions. The $49-billion budget will help rebuild areas of northeastern Japan devastated by the twin disasters through March of next year.

The ruling party has said Prime Minister Naoto Kan will resign after securing parliamentary passage of the second supplementary budget. The party made the announcement last month after Mr. Kan reached an agreement with the opposition.

Mr. Kan's government has been accused of an inadequate response to the natural disasters that left some 23,000 people dead or missing and to the resulting nuclear crisis.

A third supplementary budget for the fiscal year 2011 is planned for later this year. That budget is estimated to be five times the size of the second one.

In another blow to Mr. Kan's government, Japan's newly named reconstruction minister resigned Tuesday after being accused of offending survivors of the earthquake and tsunami.

Ryu Matsumoto stepped down after meeting with Prime Minister Kan, only a week after Matsumoto was appointed to the post.

Matsumoto's criticism of the governors of tsunami-battered Iwate and Miyagi prefectures Sunday angered disaster victims.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that Mr. Kan will promote Vice Minister Tatsuo Hirano to fill the post.