Social security spending rose to a record high 84.27 trillion yen in fiscal 2003, up 700.2 billion, yen or 0.8 percent, from the previous year due mainly to snowballing outlays for the aging population, a government research institute said Wednesday.

Expenses for pension, nursing and medical costs for the elderly accounted for 59.32 trillion yen — 70.4 percent of the total and topping the 70 percent line of overall social security spending for the first time, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, part of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Spending on children and family support, including child-rearing and childbirth benefits, stood at 3.1626 trillion, yen or 3.8 percent of the overall social security spending, the institute said.

The 0.8-percent year-on-year rise itself is a record low, but the ministry said the curb is temporary and social security expenses will continue rising.

The welfare ministry in May 2004 forecast social security spending to reach 105 trillion yen in fiscal 2010 and 152 trillion yen in fiscal 2025.

Pension benefits accounted for 53.1 percent of total payouts in 2003, while medical benefits accounted for 31.6 percent, the institute said.

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