Increased bond issues to fund fiscal-stimulus measures caused the government’s outstanding debt to hit a record-high 492.97 trillion yen at the end of March, up 12.7 percent from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said Friday.
The previous record high was the 477.76 trillion yen registered at the end of December, the ministry said.
The government’s outstanding debt was 6.7 trillion yen higher than projected and was almost equivalent to the country’s estimated fiscal 1999 nominal gross domestic product of 495.2 trillion yen — the worst among major industrial countries, the ministry said.
The government’s additional issuance of 7.57 trillion yen in bonds in a pump-priming, second supplementary budget for fiscal 1999 was mainly responsible for the expanded debt, the ministry said.
The outstanding balance of government bonds increased by 10.4 percent to 343.13 trillion yen and government borrowing from the ministry’s Trust Fund Bureau, where postal savings and pension premiums are pooled, expanded by 8.9 percent to 105.64 trillion yen, the ministry added.
The outstanding balance of financing bills, which are partly used for foreign-exchange market interventions, rose by 48.4 percent to 44.19 trillion yen, the ministry said.