Public debt hits ¥1.025 quadrillion

JIJI

Japan’s national debt hit a record-high ¥1.025 quadrillion at the end of March, up ¥33 trillion from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said on Friday.

The central government debt, which increased ¥7 trillion from the end of December last year, kept rising mainly due to ballooning social security costs in line with the aging population.

The balance of government bonds, financing bills and other borrowings crossed the ¥1 quadrillion mark for the first time ever at the end of June 2013.

The national debt stood at ¥8.06 million per capita, based on Japan’s estimated population of 127.14 million as of April 1 this year.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said the situation has become “very severe” because of slow progress in fiscal reforms.

Of the debt, general government bonds increased ¥38 trillion from a year earlier to ¥743 trillion and financing bills, used to procure funds for currency market intervention, totaled ¥115 trillion, up ¥420.8 billion.

But fiscal investment and loan program bonds, used to raise funds for loans to government affiliates, decreased ¥5 trillion to ¥104 trillion.

Long-term debt, excluding fiscal investment and loan bonds, financing bills and others, totaled ¥770 trillion. The balance is seen rising to around ¥811 trillion by the end of March 2015, taking Japan’s total long-term debt, including those of local governments, to around ¥1,010 trillion.