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.
Thousands of rescuers combed through the wreckage of homes engulfed by landslides in western Japan on Thursday in the slim hope of finding survivors, a day after a wall of mud claimed at least 39 lives. (AFP)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Thursday announced the arrest two suspects, including one organized crime member, for the alleged sale of drugs to troubled singer Aska, reports public broadcaster NHK (Aug. 21). (Tokyo Reporter)
The Hiroshima city government's response to the deadly rain-triggered landslides that left scores dead or missing will likely be questioned because it issued evacuation notices to residents after the disaster had already occurred. (The Japan News)
The sports ministry has deemed a proposal to renovate the National Stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics unrealistic, because of a number of drawbacks including insufficient earthquake resistance and building regulations that prohibit the blocking of sunlight from nearby structures. (The Japan News)
The body of a 7-year-old boy who went missing on Monday was found Wednesday on train tracks in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture. Police said the boy appeared to have been run over by a train. (Japan Today)
A U.S.-based social media challenge daring people to douse themselves with buckets of ice water has spread to Japan, with celebrities from billionaire Masayoshi Son to singer Ayumi Hamasaki taking up the gauntlet to boost awareness of what is known as Lou Gehrig's disease. (Japan Times)
The chief suspect in the murder of a wealthy Swiss-based Japanese asset manager and his wife whose bodies were found buried in a vacant lot in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, in February 2013, pleaded not guilty as his trial opened in Tokyo on Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Local summer festivals in Tokyo were once lined with many street stalls run by organizations with links to organized crime. But festivals have undergone a makeover after a metropolitan government ordinance enacted in October 2011 banned event organizers from allowing gangs from becoming involved. (The Japan News)