Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to call a snap election after the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, according to a news report, showing his determination to move the Games forward despite the country’s struggle to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government plans to work out a new economic stimulus package ahead of the expected snap elections, the Asahi newspaper said on Thursday, citing several anonymous ruling party leaders.
Suga agreed with the leader of his ruling coalition partner on Wednesday not to extend the current parliamentary session until it closes on June 16, according to media reports.
This means that Japan will forgo additional budgeting for now and use nearly 4 trillion yen ($ 36.50 billion) in reserves to pay for immediate expenses to fight the pandemic, Asahi said. .
“Obviously we need a supplementary budget, but Parliament is shutting down, so we don’t have time to pass it,” ruling party lawmaker Shoji Nishida told Reuters.
“But there should be a debate within the party on compiling another stimulus package and a supplementary budget,” he said.
Government officials were not immediately available to comment on the Asahi report.
Suga said he will focus on fighting the pandemic and that Japan will host the Games under strict virus protection measures.
Some ruling party lawmakers have called on the government to increase spending to revive an economy hit by a new state of emergency to prevent the spread of the virus.
The slow rollout of vaccines and strong public opposition to hosting the Games have resulted in Suga’s support ratings dropping, increasing uncertainty over the fate of his administration.
With the Tokyo Olympics starting on July 23, the most likely scenario is for Suga to dispel parliament after the Paralympic Games end on September 5 and call an early election, Asahi said.
($ 1 = 109,5900 yen)
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