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Japan set for record $941 billion budget

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  • Fumio Kishida
    100th~101st Prime Minister of Japan

As Tokyo shoppers gear up for festive season, Japan's government is going on a spending spree too.

Cabinet ministers on Friday (December 24) approved an annual budget of just over $941 billion.

That's a record number for the tenth straight year.

It's the first budget for new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and the numbers underscore his priority of reviving growth.

It includes record welfare spending, and trillions of yen in emergency costs related to the global health crisis.

Defense is a priority too.

The budget includes a record outlay on the armed forces of about $47 billion.

That's a bid to keep pace with China's rapid military expansion.

Defense minister Nobuo Kishi says the extra spending is unavoidable:

"As the security environment around our country gets rapidly more tense, it is important to significantly enhance defence capabilities and further accelerate various operations."

Japan's record spending comes with public debts already looking mountainous.

They're more than twice the size of the country's $5 trillion economy, and the heaviest among industrialized nations.

Kishida has promised to improve public finances in the long run, and plans to raise taxes next year to limit borrowing.

Right now though, balancing the books will have to wait.

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