Not on Saturdays

February 29, 2008 12:00 AM

The fiscal 2008 Budget, or the fiscal Heisei 20 Budget, was passed in the House. It will become official in 30 days whether the other House takes any action or not.

I am afraid that the timing of this passage may cause a problem. The Government needs the Budget before the fiscal 2008 starts on April 1 and the passage of the Budget in the House before the end of February will ensure that. But the Opposition wanted the passage of the Budget in March to save their face. They wanted to be able to say that they fought hard for the people in delaying the passage of this hilarious budget. The signal came through the usual channel was that the Opposition would be satisfied if the passage was delayed until March 1. It is a simple request and is not at all difficult to accommodate as the first payment in the new fiscal year only comes on April 4 when the Government pays for the bill for the food of inmates in the jails.

So the Government's original plan was to finish the committee debate in the Friday evening and call a Chamber meeting very late at night, i.e. 23:45, and during the debate in the Chamber, it will become March 1! Everyone is happy and satisfied.

??Then the news came. Ozawa and Yamaoka, the DPJ's Chief Whip, already have engagements on Saturday that they cannot cancel and they want the Government to go ahead to vote on Friday.

??The Government could have had a vote on Monday. Now the Opposition in the other House is refusing to debate because the vote was taken in February and the Opposition lost face. Ozawa and Yamaoka were not telling their fellow MPs it was because of their schedule. The Budget is okay, but the Revenue Bill needs to be passed in the other House because the revenue is not a part of budget and a revenue bill is a bill just like any other. The Government will face a crisis at the end of March.