Japan’s parliament on Thursday enacted a budget for fiscal 2014 totaling a record 95.88 trillion yen, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledging to prevent a sharp economic downturn following the consumption tax hike from next month.
At a plenary session of the House of Councillors, the budget for the next fiscal year starting April was approved by a majority of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner the New Komeito party.
The budget cleared the Diet in the third-fastest time in postwar history, according to the Secretariat of the upper house.
Abe’s LDP and New Komeito aimed to secure passage of the budget by the end of this month to implement it from April 1, when the country’s consumption tax rate will be raised to 8 percent from the current 5 percent.
“We will make every effort to overcome deflation and boost economic growth” through the smooth implementation of the budget, Abe said during a meeting of the House of Councillors Budget Committee earlier in the day.
Abe plans to hold a press conference from 9 p.m. Thursday to explain how his government intends to grapple with the economic challenges that may lie ahead.
During the ongoing ordinary parliamentary session scheduled to end June 22, lawmakers are expected to focus on issues involving Abe’s proposal to change the government’s interpretation of the Constitution to enable Japan to come to the defense of allies under attack.
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