In a letter to Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed his hope that Japan’s disbursements to international organizations will increase in the near future, despite a sharp drop planned for fiscal 1998, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hiroshi Hashimoto said Sept. 2.

In the letter, dated Aug. 21, Annan reportedly wrote that he understands Japan’s fiscal situation, but hopes Japan’s decision to cut disbursements to international bodies will have a limited impact on such organizations. In line with the government’s decision in June to cut its official development assistance by 10 percent next fiscal year, the ministry said it had planned reductions in aid to international organizations when it made its initial 1998 fiscal budget request.

Hashimoto said, however, that the 22.3 percent cut in aid would have significant impacts on the aid organizations, even if such bodies make efforts to be more efficient. He added that the ministry plans to request increases in the budget for disbursements to international groups.

Under the current budget request, disbursements to the United Nations Environment Program would be cut by 45 percent and money for the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights would be trimmed by 39 percent.

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