Tokyo, July 29 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government on Friday adopted budget request guidelines for fiscal 2023, setting a special quota of at least 4.4 trillion yen to finance measures aimed at supporting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s goal of achieving a virtuous cycle of growth and wealth distribution.
The government did not set a cap on the total amount of budget requests for the 10th straight year. Each government agency is given until the end of August to submit a budget request, and total requests will likely surpass 100 trillion yen again.
Kishida told officials that Japan needs to carry out drastic reform to strengthen its growth potential. Important measures are given priority under the fiscal 2023 budget, he said.
Subject to the special quota are spending on human resources, science technology and innovation, startups, carbon reductions and digital technology, and economic security including energy and food.
The guidelines seek to reduce discretionary policy expenditures by 10 pct from 14.9 trillion yen under the fiscal 2022 budget. Instead, agencies are allowed to request up to three times the reduced amount. Discretionary policy expenditures are spending subject to political decisions, such as public works outlays.
Agencies are allowed to make requests without specifying the budget amount across a wide range of fields, including measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and higher prices.
Such a method of requests was also allowed for defense spending, in view of a planned year-end update to the medium-term defense buildup program. This suggests that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will likely press for more defense spending in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other security threats.
The government estimated a natural increase of 560 billion yen in social security costs, down from 660 billion yen under the fiscal 2022 budget, as people tend to refrain from visiting hospitals amid the pandemic.