• Staff report


Fiscal 2005 budget requests from ministries and agencies on Tuesday totaled 85.52 trillion yen, up 3.4 trillion yen from the initial budget for the current fiscal year, the Finance Ministry said.

The Finance Ministry plans to trim more than 3 trillion yen from the requests to keep the general-account budget at around 82.11 trillion yen, the budget for fiscal 2004.

The ministry will use the requests as a springboard to compile a budget plan in December.

The Finance Ministry itself is asking that some 20.24 trillion yen be used to cover Japan’s growing debt, and to meet interest payments and Japanese government bond redemptions. The sum is a 15.2 percent rise from the current year’s budget. It will be the first time debt-servicing costs surpass 20 trillion yen.

Requests from other ministries include a 16 percent increase in funding from the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry for a second runway at unpopular Kansai International Airport and for three extensions of bullet train lines.

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