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A total surplus of 437.4 billion yen was recorded after the government settled its general account for fiscal 1996, which ended in March, the Finance Ministry announced July 2.

By laws, at least half of the surplus must go toward redemption of government bonds. Ministry officials said they hope the entire amount will be used in such a way this year, since the government wants to reduce its public debts.

Tax revenue for the fiscal year came to 52.05 trillion yen, up a scant 0.2 percent from the previous fiscal year, ministry statistics showed. Corporate tax revenue, boosted by improved business activity during the fiscal year, rose 5.4 percent, contributing to the rise in overall tax revenue. But the surplus was largely thanks to such special factors as the yen’s depreciation and a surge in personal spending ahead of the two percentage point rise in the consumption tax from April, ministry officials said.

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