Japan ruling party heavyweight says to consider ‘large-scale, bold’ spending package

Japan ruling party heavyweight says to consider 'large-scale, bold' spending


© Reuters. Toshihiro Nikai, Secretary General of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party, talks to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will consider compiling a “large-scale, bold” additional fiscal stimulus package to cushion the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic, ruling party heavyweight Toshihiro Nikai was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Nikai, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s secretary-general, said the government could compile a third extra budget to fund part of the package, the paper reported on Thursday.

“We’ve already taken ample measures to support firms under a second extra budget. But we’ll take bold, additional steps if necessary,” Nikai was quoted as saying.

Nikai said the party has not received specific requests for help from industries whose profits have been hit by the pandemic, such as carmakers and airlines, saying it was up to each sector to decide whether companies need to consolidate to stay afloat.

“We’d like to take effective measures to support the economy as a whole,” Nikai said.

“If the industries reach a decision (to consolidate), the party can consider whether assisting them would be appropriate,” he said.

Japan has so far spent 234 trillion yen – about 40% of its gross domestic product – in two stimulus packages deployed to ease the economic pain from the pandemic.

The government is tapping a pool of funds, set aside under the packages, to meet the cost of battling the pandemic. But some lawmakers are calling for another spending package as the pain persists.

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