The Administrative Reform Council agreed Aug. 19 to upgrade the Environment Agency to a full-scale ministry to respond to higher priority being placed on environmental protection by the international community.

The blue-ribbon government panel, headed by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, also agreed to reorganize the ministries of Construction, Transport, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the National Land Agency and the Hokkaido Development Agency into two ministries that would be called the ministry of national land preservation and the ministry of national land development. The idea was initiated by Hashimoto.

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