Budget requests exceed ¥110 tril., hitting 2nd-highest

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — General-account budget requests from government agencies for fiscal 2023, which starts next April, totaled ¥110,048.4 billion, the second-highest on record after the ¥111,655.9 billion sought for fiscal 2022, the Finance Ministry said Monday.

The latest budget requests feature a record spending request from the Defense Ministry, an increase in debt-serving costs following massive spending on measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and higher social security spending attributable to the aging population.

The total is likely to swell further during the budget compilation process toward year-end as agencies have requested spending on many items without specifying how much they need. Such requests included measures related to defense and the fight against soaring prices.

Total general-account spending under a final budget plan, due out late this year, is highly likely to hit a record on an initial basis, eclipsing the current high of ¥107,596.4 billion marked in fiscal 2022.

Total budget requests topped ¥100 trillion for the ninth consecutive year.

The Defense Ministry requested a record ¥5,559.8 billion. In addition, the ministry’s request included more than 100 items sought without specifying the amount of money involved.

These items are partly related to the government’s medium-term defense buildup program that is up for review later this year.

The Finance Ministry sought ¥26,988.6 billion in debt-servicing expenses.

Due to rising social security costs, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry asked for ¥33,264.4 billion, the second-highest level ever. The ministry’s request will hit a record high if spending related to a planned agency for child and family policy is included.