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Japan Parliament Passes Budget amid Fight over Financing Bills

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TEHRAN, March 1 (ICANA) – Japan’s lower house of parliament passed Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s record 92.4 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion) budget amid fighting over related legislation to finance the world’s largest public debt.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 10:58:49 AM
Japan Parliament Passes Budget amid Fight over Financing Bills

The lower house, controlled by Kan’s Democratic Party of Japan, approved the measure for the fiscal year beginning April 1 early today, Kyodo News said. The budget becomes law within 30 days regardless of whether it is voted on by the opposition- controlled upper house, Bloomberg.net reported.

Kan has been unable to persuade opposition lawmakers to authorize 44.3 trillion yen in government bonds to help fund the budget and which must be approved by both houses. The stalemate has increased the possibility of a snap election at a time when Kan’s popularity is plummeting amid dissension within the DPJ.

Moody’s Investors Service on Feb. 22 lowered Japan’s debt rating outlook on concern political gridlock will constrain efforts to tackle debt that is set to exceed twice the size of gross domestic product this year. Standard & Poor’s last month cut its rating for Japan to the fourth-highest level, citing the debt and the possibility the financing bills won’t be passed.

Kan’s approval ratings fell to 20 percent in an Asahi newspaper survey published Feb. 21, down 6 percentage points from January and the lowest since he took office in June. His disapproval rating rose eight percentage points to 62 percent, and 49 percent of those surveyed said he should resign.

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