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Citizens doubt stimulus money to arrive in time

Date Posted: 2009-02-04

Feuding between the Prime Minister and the Diet is stalling the Prime Minister’s plan of giving special fixed benefits money, an economic stimulus, to citizens this year.

Prime Minister Taro Aso wants to give every person ¥12,000, with a boost to ¥20,000 for each individual under 15 and over 65. The opposition parties “are against this fixed benefit money,” a spokesman says, because “it is just for winning the election for the Liberal Democratic Party.” Aso is pressing for approval of the funds distribution before the end of the fiscal year March 31st, but in-fighting at both the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors is making it questionable.

A survey of 41Okinawa municipalities, with 23 responding, suggested the likelihood of the stimulus money happening is dwindling. Six cities, towns and villages said paperwork to handle the money can be accomplished, including ways to distribute it even to people without bank accounts. A total of 23 municipalities say the cash infusions would be helpful, but 15 say they now doubt it can happen before the end of the fiscal year.

“We don’t have any measures for the economic situation yet,” said 28 communities, but Kadena Town was more optimistic. “We have to believe this measure will improve the economic situation,” a Kadena Town spokesman said.

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