Japan's Cabinet approves record budget of 1.11 trln USD for FY 2011

12:05, December 25, 2010      

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The Cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday approved a draft budget which hit a record 92.40 trillion yen (1.11 trillion U.S. dollars) for fiscal year 2011.

The figure is marginally higher than the initial budget for 2010, which stood at 92.30 trillion yen, as the government seeks to raise spending on key policies amid rising social welfare costs.

The budget will include more than 44 trillion yen (530.11 billion U.S. dollars) from issuing new government bonds, a second straight year when bonds have exceeded tax revenue as a source of income.

The swelling budget is believed to be contradictory to Kan's pledge to cut spending to restore the nation's fiscal health. Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he hoped the 2011/12 budget will help boost the fragile economic recovery and kickstart the job market.

"We have drawn up a budget, well considering boosting economic growth and employment as well as fiscal discipline," Noda told reporters following a regular Cabinet meeting.

Japan's finance minister added that the government has succeeded in capping its main spending at 71 trillion yen (855.40 billion U.S. dollars) and keeping new debt issuance below 44.3 trillion yen (533.72 billion U.S. dollars) in its planned budget for the next fiscal year starting April.

"We've been able to clear those goals," Noda told reporters.

A divided parliament could hamper the smooth passage of the budget, which covers the financial year starting April, due to the dominance of opposition parties in the House of Councilors following Naoto Kan's ruling coalition's defeat in this summer's upper house election.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) can ensure the budget passes through parliament with their majority in the more powerful lower house, due to a rule that allows it to become law after 30 days, even if the opposition-controlled upper house votes it down.

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