Social security benefits paid out in fiscal 2017 reached a record high and exceeded ¥120 trillion for the first time, a welfare ministry-affiliated think tank said Friday.

The figure for the year to March 2018 stood at ¥120.24 trillion, up 1.6 percent from the previous year, the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research said.

Social security benefits have been on the increase since statistics began in 1950.

Such benefits include pensions and spending for medical services, with self-pay portions excluded. They are mainly financed by tax revenues and social security insurance premiums.

By category, pensions totaled ¥54.83 trillion, the largest figure and nearly 50 percent of the total. But the year-on-year growth of pensions was only 0.8 percent, due in part to a drop in public pension allowances.

Medical expenditures grew 1.6 percent to ¥39.42 trillion, reflecting the aging of society.

Spending on welfare and other purposes, including child-rearing and nursing care, increased 3.1 percent to ¥25.99 trillion.

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