March 1(Tuesday)

The budget bill passes the House of Representatives--now, let's reach an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties at all costs

 

Early this morning, the budget bill for fiscal 2011 passed the House of Representatives. The enactment of the budget before the end of the current fiscal year has now become a certainty.

 

We will now begin to focus on budget deliberations in the House of Councillors and deliberations on budget-related bills in the House of Representatives. I will be resolutely engaged in consultations on the budget-related bills until we reach an agreement between the ruling and the opposition parties.

 

There are many similarities between the current state of affairs and the "Financial Diet" of 1998. But conversely to the current situation, at that time the divided Diet had the LDP as the ruling party with a majority in the House of Representatives, with opposition parties, centered on the DPJ, controlling the House of Councillors. The "bridge bank bill" (designed to create state-owned receiver banks, known as "bridge banks," to administer the assets and liabilities of failed banks) submitted by the government and the ruling party was a test of strength in which the bill simply could not be enacted as is. However, had that sort of political deadlock been dragged out indefinitely, it would have been entirely possible for a run on a large bank to occur. We were on the brink of a Japan-triggered financial crisis possibly evolving.

 

It was with that sense of crisis that the ruling and the opposition parties ultimately came to choose a path of "policies over politics," in which we worked in cooperation despite the divided Diet to enact the Financial Revitalization Act (using the version put forth by our side), thereby successfully avoiding a financial crisis.

 

In this case as well, I will be devoting further effort to achieving agreement between the ruling and the opposition parties regarding the budget-related bills in order to protect the lives of the people at all costs.



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