Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda Meets Parliament
Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda spoke before the parliament in a Japanese Diet session on Wednesday, expressing concern over China's heavy militaristic and maritime activities. REUTERS

The Japanese government on Friday approved a $48.5 billion emergency budget for disaster relief, but refrained from raising fresh debt.

With this budget, we are taking one step forward towards reconstruction after the Great Tohoku Earthquake and towards restarting the economy, Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said after a cabinet meeting.

The minister said it was difficult to raise the huge amount for the reconstruction of the quake and tsunami-hit economy, and that the government has managed to do it without issuing any fresh Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs).

According to the government's calculations, the March 11 quake and tsunami has caused material damage of $300 billion.
The government, which is determined to keep fiscal discipline, is planning to take the unpopular route of raising taxes to fund the emergency budget.
Noda said the government will present the budget to Parliament on April 28, adding that the budget will be enacted as soon as possible.

The cabinet plans to submit the emergency budget -- which includes about 1.6 trillion yen of infrastructure-related spending -- to Parliament on April 28. Noda said he hoped that it would be enacted as soon as possible.