Tokyo, March 26 (Jiji Press)–The Diet, Japan’s parliament, on Friday enacted the government’s fiscal 2021 budget bill, which calls for record general-account spending of 106,609.7 billion yen amid the prolonged coronavirus pandemic.
The budget for the year from next month was approved at a plenary meeting of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, by a majority vote, with support mainly from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito coalition.
The budget passed the House of Representatives, the lower chamber, in early March.
It shows 3.8 pct spending growth from the previous year’s initial budget, hitting a record high for the ninth successive year.
The government allocated 5 trillion yen for reserve funds to prepare for a resurgence of the coronavirus.
The budget also included outlays for measures to promote digitalization in the public and private sectors, a key policy item for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and measures to realize a target of reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to effectively zero by 2050.
In the fight against the pandemic, funds were earmarked for improving operations at public health centers and boosting production capacity for medical equipment.
Meanwhile, tax revenues are estimated to fall in fiscal 2021, with the issuance of new government bonds projected to exceed 40 trillion yen for the first time in seven years. The budget’s reliance on debt will top 40 pct also for the first time in seven years.
The country’s primary budget balance is expected to show a deficit of 20.4 trillion yen. The goal of regaining a primary balance surplus in fiscal 2025 appears hard to achieve now.
The outstanding amount of long-term debt at the central and local governments is seen totaling 1,209.4 trillion yen at the end of fiscal 2021, with the ratio of debt to gross domestic product standing at 216 pct.