Government debt totaled ¥1.044 quadrillion at the end of 2015, a decline of ¥9.83 trillion in the final three months of the year, the Finance Ministry said.
The decrease came as the government cut back its issuance of financing bills that are designed to cover a temporary revenue shortage.
Put in demographic terms, the figure means the government owed ¥8.23 million to each person in Japan. That’s based on a population estimate of 126.82 million as of the start of this year.
The total debt balance is expected to reach a record high of around ¥1.087 quadrillion on March 31, the end of fiscal 2015, as the issuing of government bonds is increasing to cover ballooning social security costs reflecting the aging population.
Of the total at the end of 2015, general government bonds accounted for ¥902.2 trillion, up 0.9 percent from the end of September. Meanwhile, the balance of financing bills decreased 17.6 percent to ¥87.34 trillion.
The ministry also said that the balance of long-term government debt stood at ¥826.2 trillion at the end of 2015.
The balance is projected to reach ¥842 trillion at the end of fiscal 2015.
The combined long-term debt balance at the central and local governments is expected to reach ¥1.041 quadrillion at the end of March.