Fiscal 2015 budget draft puts emphasis on growth measures

JIJI, Kyodo

The government plans to use stricter criteria to screen budget requests from ministries and agencies in fiscal 2015 starting next April but has failed to put a ceiling on total spending in the draft guidelines as it usually does.

The government wants to spend up to ¥4 trillion on policy areas, especially economic growth measures, but limit discretionary spending by 10 percent for fiscal 2015, draft guidelines for state budget request revealed Thursday.

The draft guidelines, which will be presented by the Finance Ministry to a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy on Tuesday, call for “higher efficiency” in the fiscal 2015 state budget.

The government is considering urging agencies to reduce discretionary spending by 10 percent while allowing them to request funds for growth strategy measures, such as those aimed at revitalizing local communities, under a special ¥4 trillion quota.

The government plans to adopt the budget request guidelines for fiscal 2015 at a Cabinet meeting on July 25 after consulting with the ruling coalition.

Japan has set a goal of halving the national and local governments’ total primary budget deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product by fiscal 2015 from the fiscal 2010 level.

The draft guidelines call for a strict check even of the expected natural increase in social security costs set to be caused by the aging population.

Meanwhile, mandatory expenses, such as wages, are set at the same level as those in the previous year’s budget.