Government bonds top choice to fund defense spending hike

The Yomiuri Shimbun

In the latest Yomiuri poll, 51% of respondents indicated that they understood the government and ruling parties’ plan to raise defense spending to more than ¥40 trillion total over the next five years.

When those in support were asked about the main source of funds for the increase, 38% said, “The issuance of government bonds,” which was the highest response rate. It was followed by those who named “cuts in other budgets such as social security” at 30%, and “tax increases” at 27%.

As to the draft proposed by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry to allow nuclear power plants to extend their operational periods and to proceed with the rebuilding of plants for which decommissioning has been decided, the latest poll also surveyed people’s views according to the political party they support.

It found that 61% of those who support the ruling parties are in favor of the ministry’s draft, while 32% of those in the same group oppose it. Among those who have no party affiliation, 46% of them are in favor of the draft, exceeding the 43% who oppose it.

Among those who support opposition parties, 46% of them said they are in favor of the plan, while 49% said they oppose it.

To monitor changes in people’s attitudes toward wearing masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the question from the survey conducted in June was asked again.

The most common response was “only when necessary” at 52%, up 3 percentage points from June. Those who answered, “I don’t want to wear one as much as possible” was up 6 points to reach 15%, while those who said, “I want to wear it as much as possible” was down 10 points at 31%.

Kihara: Govt should clarify funding

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara emphasized on a Fuji Television program on Sunday that “it would be irresponsible of the government toward the public if it did not indicate a certain course of action by the end of the year,” in regard to securing stable funding for the planned increase in defense spending over the five years to fiscal year 2027.

Kishida has instructed the ministers concerned to decide on a plan to secure financial resources to increase defense spending over the next five years so that the total budget for defense and security-related expenditures in fiscal 2027 would be 2% of the current gross domestic product.

Regarding specific sources of funds, Kihara said: “First, we will raise financial resources by eliminating wasteful spending. If that is not enough, we may ask the people at large to bear the burden,” he said.

Yosuke Takagi, a chairperson of the Policy Research Council of Komeito, also said on an NHK program on Sunday, “The ruling parties must settle the issue by the end of the year, including at the tax system research commission.”