Japan expects to spend a record $257 billion to service its debt during the next fiscal year, a document obtained by Reuters showed, underscoring the huge burden created by the government’s borrowings.
The amount to be allocated for debt-servicing for the year that will begin on April 1 is nearly as large as the gross domestic product of Singapore, which the World Bank put at $275 billion at the end of 2012.
Japan’s Ministry of Finance (MOF), charged with drafting the state budget and issuing government bonds, will request 25.3 trillion yen ($257 billion) in debt-servicing costs under the budget, the document showed on Tuesday.
That will be up 13.7 percent from the amount set aside for the current fiscal year, reflecting the ministry’s plan to guard against any future rise in long-term interest rates.
The increased debt-servicing cost may heighten pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to proceed with a scheduled two-stage sales tax hike from next year, which is seen as a necessary first step in fixing Japan’s tattered finances.