Abe Administration Seeks Record Budget as Diet Starts Session

Politics

Tokyo, Jan. 20 (Jiji Press)--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration on Monday submitted a record 102.7-trillion-yen budget bill for fiscal 2020 and a fiscal 2019 supplementary budget proposal to the Diet, Japan's parliament, which started a 150-day ordinary session the same day.

The two budgets have been compiled together as a "15-month budget" to facilitate reconstruction following a series of recent natural disasters, tackle overseas economic uncertainties and avert an economic slowdown at home after the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

In the fiscal 2020 budget bill, which the Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito ruling coalition aims to get through the Diet by the March 31 end of fiscal 2019, general-account expenditures total 102,658 billion yen, up 1.2 pct from the fiscal 2019 initial budget.

Of the total, general policy spending is up 2.5 pct at 63,497.2 billion yen, including 1,778.8 billion yen for temporary measures such as a reward points program for cashless payments that was introduced along with a consumption tax hike last October and a similar program to be implemented for holders of My Number identification cards in September, after the Tokyo Games.

Social security outlays are put at 35,860.8 billion yen, up 5.1 pct, reflecting a new policy of free-of-charge preschool education, as well as a projected rise in medical expenses against the backdrop of the country's aging society. For low-income families, tertiary education will also become charge-free in April.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press