TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Budget requests by Japan's government ministries and agencies for fiscal 2022 total 111.66 trillion yen ($1 trillion), the Finance Ministry said Tuesday, logging an all-time high for the fourth consecutive year.
Exceeding the 110 trillion yen mark for the first time due to swelling debt-serving and social security costs, the figure suggests the next fiscal year's initial general-account budget could top the 106.61 trillion yen for fiscal 2021 that included 5 trillion yen reserved for responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Finance Ministry will assess the requests and aim to compile by the end of the year the initial draft budget for fiscal 2022 for deliberations at an ordinary Diet session to be convened early next year.
The expected budget would keep Japan further away from achieving fiscal consolidation, although the government is maintaining its target of turning its primary balance -- tax revenue minus expenses other than debt-servicing costs -- into the black by fiscal 2025.
Requests for debt-servicing costs reached a record 30.24 trillion yen, up from 23.76 trillion yen in the fiscal 2021 initial budget, while those for policy spending stood at 81.42 trillion yen, larger than the 77.85 trillion yen for the current fiscal year's budget.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has asked for 33.95 trillion yen, its largest request ever, reflecting ballooning health care and pension costs amid the rapid graying of the nation's population.
The Defense Ministry has sought record 5.45 trillion yen, aiming to reinforce capabilities in new security domains and developing new technologies to deal with China's growing military assertiveness.
The government has set aside special reserves of around 4.4 trillion yen so that ministries and agencies can promote key policies such as efforts to cut carbon emissions and digitalization under its growth strategy. In total, ministries and agencies demanded 4.37 trillion yen from the reserves.