Pandemic Pushed Japan’s Social Security Costs to Record High in FY21

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, in May 2021.

Central and local government social security spending hit a record high in fiscal 2021, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

Outlay in such sectors as pensions and medical care totaled ¥138.7433 trillion, up 4.9% on the previous year, the institute said Friday. The figure of 25.20% exceeded one quarter of Japan’s gross domestic product for the first time.

Expenditure surged due to increased costs for countermeasures against the novel coronavirus and other factors, including the aging of the population.

Pensions accounted for the largest portion of the spending at ¥55.8151 trillion, followed by medical care at ¥47.4205 trillion and welfare and other areas, including childcare support, at ¥35.5076 trillion, with the figures respectively increasing 0.3%, 11% and 4.9% from fiscal 2020.

Benefits per capita increased 5.5% from a year earlier to ¥1.1055 million, also marking a record high.