Japan's Lower House Approved 750-Billion USD Budget For Fiscal 2024

(MENAFN- Nam News Network) TOKYO, Mac 3 (NNN-NHK) – Japan's lower house of parliament, yesterday approved a 112.57- trillion-yen (750-billion-U.S. dollar) budget, for fiscal 2024, with record allocations made for social security costs and controversial defence spending.

The budget, although smaller than the record 114, allocated for the current fiscal year to Mac, is still the second-largest, underscoring the urgency for debt-ridden Japan to rein in spending and restore its fiscal health.

Running contrary to Japan's constitutionally-bound pacifist stance, a record defence spending of 7.95 trillion yen was proposed in the draft budget, as part of the government's plans to bolster its defensive capabilities, with its broader five-year plan continuing to draw staunch criticism from the public, opposition parties and scholars.

Due to Japan's declining birth rate and rapidly aging population, social security costs included in the draft budget for the fiscal period from Apr, 2024 to Mac, 2025, ballooned to a record 37.72 trillion yen, the largest amount ever, according to the plan, which also stressed subsidies for companies to raise salaries amid inflation.

To deal with the aftermath of the Noto Peninsula earthquake, which devastated central Japan on New Year's Day this year, the government doubled the amount of emergency funds to one trillion yen, by revising the budget it endorsed in Dec.

The lower house, controlled by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and its coalition partner, Komeito, cleared the bill after deliberations at the Budget Committee, in which the opposition grilled the premier over the party's ongoing political funds scandal, according to local media reports.

The budget proposal has been sent to the House of Councillors, and the ruling and opposition parties have agreed to start deliberation from tomorrow.

Enactment of the budget is now certain, local media reported, as the ruling bloc also dominates the upper house, and the Constitution mandates that a budget is enacted 30 days after approval by the lower house, in the event of unresolved differences between the two chambers. (1 U.S. dollar equals 150.10 Japanese yen)– NNN-NHK


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