Japan debt grows by record of over 100 tril. yen

NHK -- May 11
Japanese government debt surged at a record pace in fiscal 2020 that ended in March, as spending rose to deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Finance Ministry says the balance of debt stood at about 1,216.4 trillion yen, or about 11.1 trillion dollars, hitting a record high for the fifth straight year.

The figure was up 101.9 trillion yen, or about 936 billion dollars, from the previous year. It marks the first growth of more than 100 trillion yen since fiscal 1997, when comparable data became available.

Ballooning social security costs are partly to blame. Another factor is the pandemic, which prompted the government to issue bonds worth more than 100 trillion yen for the first time in fiscal 2020.

The balance of government bonds stands at 1,074 trillion yen, or about 9.8 trillion dollars, accounting for the bulk of the national debt. The rest are borrowings and short-term financing bills.

With the pandemic still raging, Japan's fiscal situation is likely to deteriorate further. The government's budget for the current fiscal year calls for the fresh issuance of bonds worth 43.5 trillion yen, or about 400 billion dollars.