World / Asia-Pacific

Japan approves budget for FY2015, defense spending hits record high

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-01-14 10:52

Japan approves budget for FY2015, defense spending hits record high

(From L) Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Akira Amari, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso attend an extraordinary Cabinet meeting in Tokyo, Japan Jan 14, 2015.[Photo/IC]

TOKYO - Japan's Cabinet approved a record 96.34 trillion yen (about $814 billion) government budget for fiscal 2015 beginning in April to accommodate rising spending for social security and defense, local media reported.

The budget draft, the third since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took power, marks a rise from this fiscal year's initial 95.88 trillion yen, said Kyodo News Agency.

With Japan's population aging quickly, social security spending will hit record 31.53 trillion yen, exceeding 30 trillion yen for the second straight year.

Defense expenditures will also climb 2.0 percent to a record 4.98 trillion yen ($42 billion), up for the third consecutive year, as Abe aims to strengthen surveillance and defense capabilities of the country.

Since he took office in late 2012, Japan's defense budget has been on an uptrend and could top 5 trillion yen in fiscal 2016.

Spending on public works projects, which the government views as having an immediate impact on the corporate sector, will stand at 5.971 trillion yen, with little change from the previous year.

The Cabinet will submit the budget to parliament. Since Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito have majorities in both houses of the parliament, the passage of the budget is almost certain, said local media.

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