Japan’s Parliament Approved a Record State Budget for the Next Fiscal Year
The Japanese Parliament approved the state budget in the amount of $926 billion for the next fiscal year, beginning April 1. The budget received final approval today by the upper house of parliament with a solid majority of the ruling bloc, after it received support from the lower house last month. The budget is a record high for the sixth straight year despite debt-ridden Japan's need to restore its fiscal health.
About a third of the total, or 32.97 trillion yen, is earmarked for social security spending amid the graying of the population, while 5.19 trillion yen is earmarked for defense spending, which will increase to bolster capabilities to cope with North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.
For fiscal 2018, the government managed to meet its target of limiting the year-on-year rise in social security spending to 500 billion yen after a review of medical and nursing care fees. Excluding 23.30 trillion yen debt-servicing costs, a record high 74.41 trillion yen is earmarked for policy spending. The budget also includes funds for more day-care centers for children as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to resolve the shortage of such facilities.