The Tokyo Metropolitan Government, saddled with a deficit of roughly 310 billion yen this fiscal year, released a financial reconstruction plan Aug. 14 that singled out 30 items to be reviewed for possible budget reductions. The plan aims to cut the next fiscal year budget by 126.8 billion yen to 1.5 trillion yen. Details are to be nailed down by the end of the year.
The plan clearly states that the local government will not initiate major new land readjustment and urban redevelopment projects for the time being to save the budget for public works. On welfare, the metropolitan government will proceed with a budget review with an eye to cutting subsidies for medical treatment fees and hospital food costs for disabled people with incomes larger than a specified level, according to the plan.
The “silver pass,” a free transportation pass for elderly people, is also among the 30 items likely to be reviewed. The free passes were a focus of public debate in the metropolitan assembly election in July. The Japanese Communist Party criticized the Tokyo government for trying to do away with the passes, winning the JCP wide public support in the process, particularly from elderly people.
The metropolitan government is also considering introducing an entrance fee for high schools under its jurisdiction, according to the plan. The metropolitan government will also review subsidy levels for metropolitan government-affiliated high schools, pointing out that about 35 percent of students at the institutions come from other prefectures.