Government ministries and agencies reported more than 10 billion yen in overallocated or unused funds in fiscal 2004, suggesting that loose budget management is aggravating the nation’s huge budget deficits, according to official reports made public by Friday.

The wasteful funding, covering 13 central government ministries and agencies for the year through March, also included funds used for purposes other than originally intended. In total, about 100 cases were reported.

The reported cases apparently represent just the tip of the iceberg because cases from other government agencies have not yet been disclosed.

The reports were compiled along with fiscal 2006 budget requests submitted to the Finance Ministry by Wednesday.

The Finance Ministry has called for a strict review of spending programs to get a grasp of how much was appropriated and how much was actually used.

Of the 13 ministries and agencies, however, the largest number of waste cases — 13 — came from the Finance Ministry, which is in charge of managing the budget.

This was followed by 12 at the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry, and 11 at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

One example of wasteful allocation was the 189 million yen requested by the Finance Ministry over three years for a housing survey to collect taxation data. The money was never used. METI was allocated 5.58 billion yen in fiscal 2004 for its model energy-saving program, but spent only 48 million yen.

One reason why ministries and agencies request larger budgets than they need is because they are not allowed to make additional budget requests in the same fiscal year or to carry over unused funds to the following year.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.