The government’s outstanding debt totaled a record-high 670.12 trillion yen at the end of December, according to data released Thursday by the Finance Ministry.

The figure translates into about 5.25 million yen for each Japanese citizen, and is up 14.44 trillion yen from the end of September, according to the data.

The central government’s debt, announced every quarter, combines government bonds, nonbond borrowing and short-term debt-financing bills outstanding.

Because the government plans to issue 36.59 trillion yen in fresh government bonds in the fiscal 2004 budget are expected to be approved by the Diet on Friday, the total outstanding debt is expected to surpass 700 trillion yen in the next fiscal year.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said the massive debt would eventually be brought under control.

“If economic management continues its current course, it will be reduced,” he told a news conference. “It will reach its peak at some point, and if we pursue sound fiscal policies after that, it will decrease.”

According to the data, outstanding government bonds at the end of December totaled 539.82 trillion yen, up 9.65 trillion yen from three months earlier.

Short-term debt-financing bills reached 70.34 trillion yen, the highest on record, as the government issued them to finance monetary authorities’ massive intervention in the foreign-exchange market to stem the yen’s rise.

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