Japan MPs strike deal to cut pay for disaster relief: report

TOKYO Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:40am EDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's ruling party agreed with the opposition on Monday for members of parliament to take a cut in pay to fund reconstruction efforts after this month's deadly earthquake and tsunami, Kyodo news agency reported.

The pay cut, equivalent to about 14 percent of a member's annual income, would add 2 billion yen ($25 million) to Japan's biggest rebuilding effort since post-World War Two reconstruction, Kyodo said.

The government has estimated that damage from the March 11 quake and tsunami could top $300 billion, making it the world's costliest natural disaster. Nearly 11,000 people were killed and more than 16,000 are missing.

About a quarter of a million people are homeless.

The ruling Democratic Party will aim to pass a bill to enable the pay cuts with the help of the biggest opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and the second-biggest, New Komeito, Kyodo said.

Before the disaster, opposition parties were blocking bills in a divided parliament to force unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan to resign or call a snap election.

But since then, they have signaled they would help end the deadlock in return for cuts in government spending plans.

(Reporting by Chisa Fujioka; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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