Japan's government ministries will make budget requests totalling a record 99.2 trillion yen ($1.02 trillion) for the fiscal year from next April, sources familiar with the figures told Reuters, adding to its already strained public finances.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is struggling to balance the need for economic stimulus and the need to rein in the country's public debt, which is double the size of its GDP - the heaviest such burden among the industrialised nations.
The budget requests, which must all be submitted by Friday, compare with 92.6 trillion yen earmarked for this fiscal year.
The Ministry of Finance in recent years has typically trimmed the requested total by several trillion yen when it prepares its draft budget in December.
The process is complicated this year, however, as no ceiling has been set for the budget draft due to a pending sales tax increase, while Abe's government faces pressure for more spending to stimulate the economy.
Tokyo prosecutors are searching the house of a former aide to Lower House member Yuko Obuchi over the recent political funds scandal. The scandal drove Obuchi from her post as Economy, Trade and Industry Minister. (NHK)
Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Wednesday he had a "nice meeting" with Chinese President Xi Jinping, less than two weeks ahead of a gathering of Asia-Pacific leaders in Beijing where there is a window of opportunity for the two countries to thaw icy relations. (Kyodo)
Japan came in 104th in the World Economic Forum's gender equality rankings for 2014, up from 105th the previous year but still far behind other major industrialized nations, the Geneva-based group said Tuesday. (The Japan News)
In spite of a recent fall in organized crime membership, Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Monday released a manga comic to discourage participation in yakuza gangs, reports the Nishi Nippon Shimbun (Oct. 27). (Tokyo Reporter)
Monday marks exactly one month since Japan experienced its deadliest volcanic eruption in decades. The eruption of Mount Ontake in the central part of the country killed 57 people. 6 others are still listed as missing. (NHK)