The number of people on welfare came to 2.1 million in February, up 5,499 from the previous month, extending a record high that began last July, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Wednesday.
After exceeding 2 million in February 2011, the number rose by around 90,000 over the next 12 months to reach 2,097,401, with increases affecting not just the elderly but also younger workers who were thrown out of their jobs.
The ministry projects that welfare spending will rise 40 percent to ¥5.2 trillion in fiscal 2025 from ¥3.7 trillion in the current fiscal year through next March.
The estimate will inevitably prompt calls for measures to help recipients get off welfare while preventing illegal receipt.
The number of households on welfare grew to a record 1.52 million in February, up 4,483 from the preceding month.