The government as a whole is seeking 85.3 trillion yen in fiscal 2006 to finance public services and institutions and pay down its mammoth debt, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

That’s 3.8 percent more than was sought in the initial budget for fiscal 2005, which ends next March.

The rise in requests for the fiscal 2006 general account budget is largely due to expanding interest payments on Japan’s expanding debt. But it also reflects the unwillingness of the various agencies and ministries to cut their payrolls.

General expenditures in 2006 are projected to grow to some 47.5 trillion yen, up 0.5 percent from the current budget.

Debt servicing costs are expected to jump 11.1 percent to 20.5 trillion yen, while tax grants to local governments are expected to rise 4.7 percent to 16.9 trillion yen.

The government has said it is trying to whittle down the 2006 budget to at least the 82.18 trillion yen allotted for the current fiscal year.

Some of the cost cuts are supposed to come from personnel cuts. Last year, the government said it would reduce the number of civil servants by 10 percent or more in five years, starting in fiscal 2005.

But the ministries have said they can’t propose staff cuts until after Sept. 11 because members of the ruling coalition committees are busy campaigning. It will be difficult to gauge the manpower needed until the outcome of the poll is known, they said.

The deadline for budget requests is Wednesday.

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