Japan has the highest national dept of US$7.1 trillion

Japan's government debt, already the highest in the industrialized world, mushroomed to a record high of 795.8 trillion yen (US$7.1 trillion; Ђ5.9 trillion) at the end of June, according to a report released by the Finance Ministry.

The latest figure marked an increase of 14.3 trillion yen (US$127.7 million; Ђ106 million) from the end of March, the ministry said Thursday. The amount is equivalent to about 6.24 million yen (US$55,900; Ђ46,000) for every Japanese.

Japan has relied on government bond issues to make up for falling tax revenues, turning into one of the world's most indebted countries.

Japan's public debt burden is almost 160 percent of its GDP and already the highest in the industrialized world.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, voted back to office following a landslide win in the Sept. 11 lower house elections, has pledged to improve the country's finances by reining in public spending and creating a smaller government.

A package of bills that would privatize Japan's massive postal service, set to be approved during a special parliamentary session that began Wednesday, has been the cornerstone of Koizumi's reform agenda.

Advisers to the government have also been mulling ways to raise taxes when the nation's economic recovery takes firmer root.

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