Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — General-account budget requests from government agencies for fiscal 2020 have hit a record high of ¥104,999.8 billion, exceeding ¥100 trillion for the sixth straight year, the Finance Ministry said Thursday.
The total is up ¥3,542.7 billion, or 3.5 percent, from the fiscal 2019 initial budget, mainly reflecting a rise in social security expenditures against the backdrop of the country’s aging population.
The fiscal 2019 budget was the first to top the ¥100 trillion mark, totaling ¥101,457.1 billion, against the requested amount of ¥102,765.8 billion.
“We aim to draw up a high-quality budget appropriate in [the new Japanese era of] Reiwa so we won’t be criticized for lax fiscal discipline,” Kenichiro Ueno, state minister of finance, told a press conference.
Still, the government’s initial budget seems certain to exceed ¥100 trillion for another year, given expected additional requests for measures to alleviate the impact of a consumption tax hike in October.
For the year starting in April 2020, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry requested a record ¥32,623.4 billion.
The Defense Ministry’s request also hit a record high of ¥5,322.3 billion, including funds for measures in the fields of outer space and cyberspace.
Budget requests under a special framework for key policy challenges, including economic expansion and human resources development, came to ¥4,341.6 billion.