* Pressure mounts for PM Kan to step down soon
* Ruling bloc struggles to pass bills in split parliament
* Democrats seeks a 2 trln yen extra budget - sec-gen
(Adds comments on size of next budget, details)
By Chisa Fujioka
TOKYO, June 15 Japan's ruling party will extend
a session of parliament to approve extra spending needed to
rebuild areas ravaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, a
party official said on Wednesday, although it is unclear if the
bills will win support from a combative opposition.
The ruling Democratic Party (DPJ) is struggling to pass
legislation in the parliament, where the opposition controls the
upper house and has been blocking bills to try to force
unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan to resign.
The party's No. 2, Katsuya Okada, said it planned to submit
a "compact" extra budget in mid-July, followed by a bigger extra
budget later on, also for reconstruction. The party is looking
at spending of around 2 trillion yen ($24.9 billion)in the next
extra budget after a first budget double that size was approved
in May, Jiji news agency quoted Okada as saying.
Kan ordered his cabinet ministers on Monday to
compile an additional budget for submission next month.
"It would be unthinkable to close parliament and
take a summer break while we are dealing with the disaster,"
Okada, the DPJ secretary-general, said in a speech to a union
"We need a big extension of the parliament session to debate
and pass necessary bills."
Kan, in office for one year as Japan's fifth prime minister
in as many years, survived a no confidence vote early this month
by promising to step down, though he did not say when. The
pledge, however, failed to break a policy deadlock with the
opposition, which refuses to cooperate with the Democrats as
long as Kan stays on.
Besides the extra budget, lawmakers have yet to approve a
bill needed to fund more than 40 percent of this fiscal year's
budget and a draft law on compensation to victims of radiation
leaks at Tokyo Electric's (Tepco) Fukushima nuclear
However, it may take more than Kan's departure to reach an
The opposition is pressing the ruling party to drop some of
its other spending plans and politicians are at odds over the
compensation bill to help Tepco pay billions of dollars in
compensation to businesses and individuals from around the
Kan, struggling with dismal popularity ratings before the
March 11 disaster, drew fire for slow and indecisive response to
what he himself described as Japan's worst crisis since the
World War Two.
The opposition and critics within his own party want Kan to
leave this month, which could possibly clear the way for a
coalition with the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party.
The current session of parliament was due to end on June 22.
Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Tuesday the
government would avoid issuing extra bonds to finance the second
extra budget, which aims to cover areas including those related
to the nuclear crisis triggered by the disaster.
Okada agreed with the party's parliamentary affairs chief
that the session should be extended for three months, Jiji news
($1 = 80.440 Japanese Yen)
(Additional reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Tomasz
Janowski and Daniel Magnowski)