World / Asia-Pacific

Japan's lower house passes extra budget to help quake-hit southwest's recovery

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-05-16 18:55

TOKYO - Japan's lower house of parliament on Monday passed a 778 billion yen (7.15 billion US dollars) extra budget for fiscal 2016 with the funds earmarked for the reconstruction and restoration of regions in the southwest that were rocked by earthquakes last month.

Having passed the lower house, the bill will now move to the upper house for enactment on Tuesday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet initially approved the supplementary budget on May 13, with the budget not coming from the issuance of new bonds.

The government has said that it will take advantage of low interest payments for state debt from accommodative rates following Japan's central bank plunging its interest rate into negative territory in January to release more money into markets.

Government officials have said that 700 billion yen in reserve funds will be allocated at the Cabinet's discretion, with this amount being made available to help rebuild small and medium-sized businesses, as well as to restore damaged infrastructure and devastation caused to agricultural facilities.

The rest of the funds, around 78 billion yen, will be used to help the quake-affected people directly by supporting livelihoods, and building and operating temporary evacuation buildings, the government has said.

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