Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso answers questios during a upper house plenary session at parliament in Tokyo on March 6, 2020. (KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP)
TOKYO - Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso said parliament’s lower house could be dissolved shortly and elections may “very well be soon,” to avoid the next administration from being criticized for not being voted in, Kyodo News reported.
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga is widely expected to be elected prime minister this week to replace Shinzo Abe
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga is widely expected to be elected prime minister this week to replace Shinzo Abe, who is stepping down because of an illness.
Aso, a former premier, said the timing on when to call elections is “very important,” Kyodo reported. He was referring to the period in September 2008 when he was elected prime minister and wanted to dissolve parliament but couldn’t due to the global financial crisis, it said.
A general election must be called by October of next year.
Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Demoratic Party (LDP), has spoken against snap elections anytime soon. Suga has been vague on the subject.
Also on Sunday, Suga said there was no limit to the amount of bonds the government can issue to support an economy hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
He also indicated he could look to a third extra budget to fight the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic if needed, adding the government had enough resources to tap at present.
“Only when we have economic growth can we push through fiscal reform. What’s most important is to create jobs and protect businesses,” Suga said on a television program.
“I don’t think so,” he said, when asked if there was a limit to bond issuance. “What’s important now is to improve current (economic) conditions,” he added.
Suga made the remarks on a program where he appeared alongside his two rivals in the LDP leadership election to be held on Monday.
Suga also told a separate program on Sunday that he could consider another stimulus budget if necessary.
“Japan’s GDP suffered its biggest postwar contraction in the second quarter, so we need to do whatever it takes to support growth. We have reserves set aside, so we can of course tap that. But if additional steps are necessary, we would act,” he said.
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