Government ministries in Japan have asked for a record budget of $995 billion to meet the financial needs in the next fiscal year. The budget is requested mostly for cleaning up Fukushima, but it will be allocated as well to balance the country’s record high debt, and help the aging population.
“We will need to thoroughly examine these requests and prioritize our spending,” said Vice Finance Minister Shunichi Yamaguchi.
The authorities will spend almost $500 million to contain toxic water from Fukushima nuclear plant, an expense that will be a heavy burden on a government whose financial resources are already scarce due to the economic crisis.
A part of the money will be used on social welfare spending for Japan’s aging population. The country’s labor industry also requested nearly $308 billion for the next fiscal year.
Japan’s debt is higher than Germany’s, France’s, and the UK’s deficits, the international press reports.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to propose a sales tax increase, which would help reduce Japan’s public debt. Under the proposal, the sales tax rate would increase from five percent to eight percent in April 2014. The rate would later jump to 10 percent in October 2015.