• Kyodo

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Government budget requests for fiscal 2017 totaled ¥101.47 trillion, topping ¥100 trillion for the third straight year, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

The requests for the general account budget for the year that will start next April 1 were bigger than the initial budget for fiscal 2016 of ¥96.72 trillion, with social security costs soaring due to the aging population.

After examining the requests, the government normally drafts a budget in December for the following fiscal year.

Requests for policy spending, which include public works and ministry personnel costs, totaled around ¥76.85 trillion, surpassing the ¥73.11 trillion in the fiscal 2016 initial budget.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry asked for ¥31.12 trillion, including medical and other social security expenses, while the Defense Ministry requested a record ¥5.17 trillion to cope with security issues such as the ballistic missiles launched by North Korea.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism asked for ¥6.82 trillion to finance steps to attract foreign tourists.

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry is seeking ¥2.44 trillion to help strengthen the competitiveness of farmers, such as expanding farmland and bolstering crop exports.

The government expects debt servicing costs to amount to ¥24.62 trillion, down from ¥23.61 trillion in the initial budget for the current fiscal year.

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