Japan’s central government debt stood at 1,038.9 trillion yen ($9.11 trillion) at the end of September, slightly down from the record high of 1,039.4 trillion yen three months earlier, the Finance Ministry said Monday.
The first decrease in debt since the three months through March 2013 came as the government curtailed the issuance of financing bills for short-term needs in the July-September period this year.
But the ministry also said the government debt is expected to reach 1,143.9 trillion yen by the end of this fiscal year through March 2015, putting pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to work harder to restore Japan’s fiscal health — the worst among major developed economies.
According to the quarterly survey, the latest total consisted of 867.8 trillion yen in government bonds, 54.5 trillion yen in borrowing mainly from financial institutions, and 116.6 trillion yen in financing bills, or short-term government notes up to six months.
As of Sept. 30, per-capita debt — or the amount owed per head of population — was about 8.17 million yen, given that Japan’s total population was estimated at around 127.1 million as of Oct. 1. The total debt was more than double the country’s nominal gross domestic product in fiscal 2013 of 481.4 trillion yen.
The government releases fiscal data every three months compiled according to International Monetary Fund standards.