Japan's cabinet approves $24.7bn for disaster relief

Japan's government has approved a second budget of 2tn yen ($24.7bn; £15.4bn) for reconstruction after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

The money will be spent on rebuilding, and on compensating victims of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Japan is facing huge public debts and will not borrow money from the market for this budget.

This second emergency budget, announced on Tuesday, will be sent to parliament for approval later this month.

Crisis continues

In May parliament passed a 4tn yen emergency budget following the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

That money is to help fund new housing for tens of thousands of people who have lost their houses. It will also support businesses hit by the disaster.

The quake and tsunami that hit Japan's north-eastern coast has left more than 20,000 people dead or missing.

It is thought to be the country's worst disaster since World War II.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been leaking radiation since the quake and tsunami crippled reactor cooling systems.

About 85,000 people have been forced to evacuate the area around the plant.

Mounting pressure

The government said it plans to use money left over from the annual budget for the last fiscal year to March for this new budget.

"With this budget we aim to ensure steps towards restoration and pave the way for reconstruction," Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who has been facing increasing pressure to resign for his handling of the nuclear crisis, had said the passage of this extra budget was one of his conditions after which he would keep his promise to resign.

Opposition parties have so far signalled they will support the emergency spending.

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