Japan’s lower house passes budget in win for PM Kishida

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s lower house of parliament passed the government’s budget for the coming fiscal year in a rare Saturday session, a win for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida whose public support has slumped.

The vote ensures that the 112 trillion yen ($746 billion) budget, including relief funds for the New Year’s Day earthquake on the Noto peninsula, will be enacted by the April 1 start of the fiscal year, regardless of what happens in the less-powerful upper house.

Kishida this week became Japan’s first sitting prime minister to appear before a parliamentary ethics committee, as he sought to draw a line under a funding scandal that has hurt his popularity.

Support for Kishida and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party has dipped to its lowest since Kishida took the top post in 2021, with his approval at 25% and support for the LDP around 30%, according to a poll last month by public broadcaster NHK.

($1 = 150.1100 yen)

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Additional reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto; Editing by William Mallard)

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