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Japan's 2014 budget to hit record-high

Staff writer |
Japan's budget for fiscal 2014 will reach a record-high 95.9 trillion yen (918.7 billion U.S. dollars) as public works spending, social security allocations and military expenditure increases, government officials said.

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The government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will confirm the final general-account budget for the year starting April on Dec. 24, but sources close to the matter confirmed next year's budget will far exceed this year's fiscal budget of 92.6 trillion yen, as the government focuses on reversing deflation here by augmenting spending to stimulate growth, as well as pumping in more funds to bolster military hardware.

According to the Ministry of Finance (MOF), owing to an expected economic uptick, tax revenues next year are estimated to swell to a seven-year high at around 50 trillion yen, with returns also set to get a boost from next April's consumption tax hike from 5 to 8 percent.

The ministry said that social security costs, in twine with rising pension and medical costs, will hit the 30 trillion yen mark for the first time since record keeping began, rising 1.4 percent from the current fiscal year and will account for around 40 percent of the total budget.

Public works projects involving the restoration and refurbishment of old buildings will cost 6 trillion yen, the government said, while defense expenditure will rise to almost 5 trillion yen as Japan beefs up its military under a new mid and long-term security and defense package announced earlier this week.

Japan's Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera said Friday that defense spending will rise next year by 2.2 percent, marking the biggest rise in 18 years and the second straight year of increase.

Japan has allocated 4.78 trillion yen for defense spending in fiscal 2014 starting in April, with the figure provisionally approved by Japan's Minister of Finance Taro Aso at a meeting with Itsunori earlier in the day.

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