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JAPAN

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Draft Budget Finalized: Japan finalized a draft budget for the coming fiscal year that slashes growth in defense spending, boosts foreign aid and delivers on a promise to Washington that Tokyo will stimulate domestic demand. The Cabinet endorsed a $573-billion budget for the year starting April 1, up 2.7% from an initially planned $557 billion in the current fiscal year. It is the lowest budgetary growth rate in the past five years. The budget will be sent to Parliament in January for expected approval by the end of March. The government’s Economic Planning Agency said measures to boost the economy included proposed expansion in the budget of public works spending and low-interest government loans to smaller-size companies. The EPA also cited cuts in Japan’s discount rate in July and November as stimulative measures.


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