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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 September 4 - 10  > FY2020 budget requests put military buildup before improving people’s lives
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2019 September 4 - 10 [POLITICS]

FY2020 budget requests put military buildup before improving people’s lives

September 4, 2019

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

In preparation for the government’s budget draft for FY2020, each ministry made an estimate request at the end of August. The total amount of requested appropriations reached nearly 105 trillion yen, the largest-ever. The amount of budget demands will increase even more if additional requests, such as a request for funds to minimize the negative economic impact from the planned consumption tax hike in October, become necessary.

The Defense Ministry requested a record-high military budget of 5.32 trillion yen, up 64.8 billion yen from its budget for the current fiscal year. The Welfare Ministry planned a budget of 32.62 trillion yen, 659.3 billion yen larger than fiscal 2019. The Land and Infrastructure Ministry, which oversees public works projects, gave an estimate of 7.1 trillion yen for the fiscal 2020 budget, a 1.18-times increase compared with this year’s budget. The Finance Ministry’s budget request for interest payments and redemption of government bonds hit an all-time high of 24.97 trillion yen, nearly 1.5 trillion yen more than the current fiscal year.

In the scheduled budget screening process, it is highly probable that the budget for state remuneration paid to medical institutions for their medical services will be slashed under the name of curbing the natural increase in social welfare services. On the other hand, various pending matters in the budget requests will possibly inflate the total amount of government spending as they provide no specific funding estimate. They are, for example, the planned realignment of the U.S. military in Okinawa in the Defense Ministry’s request and the planned countermeasure against a higher consumption tax rate.

As the government is funded by taxpayers’ money, it should use tax funds primarily to rethink Japan’s economic priorities and redistribute income fairly. It is unacceptable for the government to purchase huge quantities of U.S.-made weapons to meet U.S. demands while lowering social welfare spending. For example, if the government reduces the number of F-35B stealth fighters to be purchased from the U.S. by six, it can provide daycare services to another 30,000 children. The use of tax money for questionable economic measures in exchange for imposing heavier sales tax burdens on the general public is preposterous.

The government should adopt an economic and fiscal management policy that will support people’s daily lives and the nation’s economic recovery without relying on revenues from the consumption tax.

Past related article:
> 2.5 trillion yen in arms-related debts will be rolled over to future [September 1, 2018]
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