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FY18 budget allocations focus on revolution in human resources development, productivity

  • March 29, 2018
  • , Yomiuri , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

The FY18 budget was enacted on March 28. The government plans to promote revolution in human resources development and productivity in its bid to boost economic growth.

 

However, with the stability of the Abe cabinet in peril due to the scandal over the Finance Ministry’s alteration of documents relating to Moritomo Gakuen, there are growing concerns about whether social security system reforms, which are essential for future economic development, can be achieved.

 

In a news conference held in the evening of March 28 after the passage of the budget, Finance Minister Taro Aso said: “We focused on human resources development, productivity, and other key areas. We would like to implement these allocations promptly and steadily.”

 

The government made policies on revolution in human resources development and productivity the centerpiece of its budget allocations. In the area of human resources development, allocations were made to fund 110,000 additional places in childcare facilities and raise wages for childcare workers. It also earmarked additional subsidies to companies investing in advanced equipment for the enhancement of productivity.

 

The biggest issue from now on is the reform of social security systems, which is indispensable for striking a balance between economic growth and fiscal restructuring.

 

Fiscal restructuring will not be possible without containing the growth of social security expenditures, which account for about one third of annual appropriations. While the government has succeeded in keeping the growth below 1.5 trillion yen over the three-year period from FY16-18, plans for FY19 and beyond have yet to be drawn up.

 

On the other hand, the people have strong apprehensions about social security in the future, and this has become an obstacle to the recovery of personal consumption and the process of reflation. A review of the social security systems has become an urgent issue for economic growth. (Abridged)

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