Kishida Celebrates Budget Victory in Japan’s Lower Parliament

In a significant parliamentary session held on a rare Saturday, Japan’s lower house approved the government’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, marking a notable victory for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida amidst declining public approval. The budget, totaling 112 trillion yen ($746 billion), which allocates funds for disaster relief following the New Year’s Day earthquake on the Noto Peninsula, is set to be implemented by April 1, ensuring its activation with the fiscal year’s commencement, irrespective of outcomes in the upper house, which holds less influence.

This week saw Kishida become the first incumbent prime minister in Japan to testify before a parliamentary ethics committee. This move is part of his efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of a funding scandal on his leadership and popularity. Since Kishida’s assumption of office in 2021, his and his Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) public support levels have plummeted to their lowest, with approval ratings at 25% for Kishida and about 30% for the LDP, as reported by a recent NHK poll, Japan’s public broadcaster. This budget approval in the lower house emerges as a crucial win for Kishida, providing him with a legislative success against a backdrop of waning support and political challenges.

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