• Kyodo

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The House of Representatives Budget Committee on Friday gave the nod to a ¥96.34 trillion draft budget for fiscal 2015 starting April, paving the way for passage at the lower house later in the day.

The record-high budget is unlikely to be enacted by the start of the new fiscal year due to time constraints for deliberation, prompting the government to draw up a stopgap budget for some 10 days to finance measures.

The lower house was expected to pass the budget Friday evening by a majority vote of the ruling camp led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and send the draft budget to the House of Councilors for deliberation starting Monday.

The initial general-account budget for fiscal 2015 is aimed at beating the nation’s long-standing deflation to realize solid economic growth and helping pursue fiscal rehabilitation amid increasing social security costs.

Despite a delay in to the sales tax hike to 10 percent by 18 months to April 2017, the government is likely to attain its key goal of halving the ratio of its primary balance deficit to gross domestic product by fiscal 2015 from the fiscal 2010 level.

Of the ¥96.34 trillion in expenditures, ¥23.4 trillion will be allocated for debt servicing.

Social security costs will rise 3.3 percent from the fiscal 2014 initial budget to a record ¥31.5 trillion in fiscal 2015.

Defense expenditures will also climb 2 percent to a record ¥4.98 trillion.

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