Finance Ministry Seeks Cuts in Tax Money Spending for Sewage Programs

Politics

Tokyo, Nov. 6 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Finance Ministry proposed on Wednesday measures to cut the spending of taxpayer money for municipal sewage programs, including rate hikes and joint operations.

The proposal was made at a subcommittee meeting of the Fiscal System Council, which advises the finance minister. Taking into account the presented measures, the council will start its full-fledged work to draw up a state budget proposal for the next fiscal year starting in April 2020.

In principle, wastewater treatment in cities, towns and villages should be funded with fees collected from sewer system users. But the ministry claims that nearly 30 pct of costs for the treatment are covered by taxpayer money transferred from municipal governments' general-account budgets including grants from the national government.

To reduce such budget transfers, a move deemed necessary to improve municipal fiscal health, the ministry, at the meeting, suggested that monthly sewer rates be raised from 3,041 yen on national average as of fiscal 2017 and that criteria for using public funds be made more stringent.

It also proposed that multiple municipal governments jointly undertake a single sewage program to cut water treatment costs for each participating government.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press