Japan mulling plan to spend $115 billion in five years on disaster-proof infrastructure - Nikkei

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past at a shopping district, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Tokyo, Japan August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s government and ruling coalition are considering a plan to spend a combined 12 trillion yen ($115 billion) in five years from fiscal 2021 for disaster-proof infrastructure, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The size would mean Japan will spend roughly the same amount on disaster-proof measures annually as under the current three-year plan, which sets aside a combined 7 trillion yen (£51 billion) and expires in March.

The plan, expected to be decided by the cabinet in December, will be funded by a third extra budget for the current fiscal year ending in March, as well as annual budgets in the next five years, the paper said.

The expected size of funds is smaller than initial requests by ruling coalition lawmakers for 15 trillion yen in spending, likely nodding to concern that appropriating a huge sum spanning several years could lead to wasteful spending, the Nikkei said.

Japan is prone to earthquakes and has recently seen an increase in flooding caused by heavy rain and typhoons, prompting calls for big spending on disaster relief and infrastructure.

The spending package is also aimed at supporting the economy hit by the coronavirus pandemic and an end to a construction boom ahead of next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Reese and Tom Brown