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Japan OKs record budget for 2020 fiscal year

Japan's Ministry of Finance approved a record spending plan for the next fiscal year, with budget hikes for defense and welfare, media outlets reported.

The proposed budget for fiscal year starting April 2020 represents an increase of 1.2% to nearly ¥102.7 trillion. Spending on social welfare was increased by about ¥1.7 trillion from the prior fiscal year to ¥35.8 trillion, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

The ministry also authorized raising the country's defense budget by 1.1% to a record ¥5.31 trillion, marking the eighth straight year of increase, Reuters reported.

Part of the total budget will help fund the fiscal stimulus package approved earlier this month to support the economy by cushioning the effects of natural disasters, falling exports and the recent increase in the consumption tax, Reuters reported separately.

The fiscal 2020-2-21 draft budget is subject to parliament's approval in early 2020.

Following the release of the draft budget, Finance Minister Taro Aso said Japan remains dedicated to balancing its books by fiscal 2025 and that reforms meant to control spending would continue, Bloomberg News reported.

As of Dec. 19, 2019, US$1 was equivalent to ¥109.26.