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3 tril. yen eyed for quake budget

A supplementary budget the government and the Democratic Party of Japan are crafting for postquake reconstruction likely will total more than 3 trillion yen, sources said Wednesday.

The extra budget, the first for this fiscal year, would be used mainly for disposing of rubble and constructing temporary housing for survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The government and the ruling party have decided not to issue government bonds to finance the budget, the sources said.

Instead, they are considering using 2.5 trillion yen allocated to shoulder 50 percent of basic pension benefits and could revise policies from the DPJ's manifesto for the 2009 House of Representatives election, such as making expressways toll-free, according to the sources.

The government intends to enact the supplemental budget late this month or early next month after holding talks with opposition parties.

But some members in both the ruling and opposition camps have criticized the funding plans.

Initially, the government was considering an extra budget of more than 1 trillion yen, but later revised the amount upward in the face of the enormous damage to areas affected by the disaster.

Besides funds for temporary housing, the supplemental budget also will likely include money to repair roads, ports and schools, and may also have room for job-support measures for disaster victims.

The government will draw up a more substantial reconstruction budget, which would include large public works projects, this summer or later, the sources said.

Funds for the second supplementary budget could come from dropping a toll-free expressway trial, which was allocated 120 billion yen in the fiscal 2011 budget.

But a senior member of the DPJ's Policy Research Committee objected to this, saying, "[The government] should issue debt-covering bonds before changing the [DPJ's] manifesto."

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