by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) June 14, 2011
Prime Minister Naoto Kan instructed his cabinet ministers on Tuesday to compile another relief budget to help efforts to rebuild the nation's northeast devastated by the March quake and tsunami.
The government plans no bond issuance to finance the extra spending, ministers said.
The extra budget is expected to be smaller than a first four trillion yen ($50 billion) supplementary budget for the year to fiscal 2012.
"We will include... urgent measures that were not included in the current first supplementary budget," Kan said in parliament.
Kan said one measure could be assistance to those who are burdened with "double loans" -- a remaining mortgage on a house destroyed in the March 11 disaster and another borrowing on a new house.
The government aims to compile the new budget possibly in July, Kan said.
Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters the government had no intention to rely on the issuance of government bonds to compile the secondary extra budget.
"We need to have thoughtful discussions in the case of issuing government bonds, and if we are not to have such talks, we should in principle deal with the matter using other financial resources," Noda said.
Analysts have warned that any extra borrowing will further put further pressure on Japan's public debt mountain, which at around 200 percent of GDP, is the highest of industrialised nations.
Japan's parliament in May passed an emergency 4.015 trillion yen relief budget to help restoration work such as clearing massive amounts of rubble and building temporary housing for the thousands of people who lost their homes.
The 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11 left more than 23,000 dead or missing and crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which has been releasing radioactive materials into the environment.
For the first extra budget the government plans to divert some funds originally aimed at supporting pensions and child allowances, while also slashing plans to cancel highway tolls.
-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story --
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US tornado toll hits 151 as fungus strikes victims
Chicago (AFP) June 10, 2011
The toll from the deadliest single tornado to strike the United States in six decades rose to 151, and eight hospitalized victims were infected with a rare and potentially deadly fungus kicked up by the storm, officials said Friday. The toll from the May 22 tornado which destroyed a third of the town of Joplin, Missouri jumped by 13 from the number reported last week because a number of crit ... read more
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