Japan’s cabinet approves record 106-trillion-yen budget amid pandemic

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Covid

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s cabinet on Monday gave a green light to a record 106.6-trillion-yen (1-trillion- dollar) budget for fiscal 2021 as the country has been struggling to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The budget for the year through March 2022 marked a record high for the ninth straight year despite persistent concerns about the nation’s fiscal health.

Suga’s government plans to issue new bonds worth around 43.6 trillion yen in order to finance the new budget, up 11 trillion yen from the current financial year’s original plan.

About 41 per cent of the budget will be covered by debt, compared with nearly 32 per cent in the current year.
Social security expenditures will grow to a record 35.8 trillion yen, which accounts for about one third of the budget, as the rapid ageing of the population has caused growing health care and pension costs, Kyodo News reported.

The nation’s defence budget will rise 0.5 per cent from a year earlier to 5.3 trillion yen, hitting a record high for the seventh year in a row as the government said it is facing a threat from China’s military build-up and North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Five trillion yen will be earmarked for possible countermeasures against the Covid-19 pandemic as Japan has been facing a resurgence of new coronavirus infections since mid-November.

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