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Budget requests for the fiscal 1998 general account budget totaled 80.554 trillion yen, up 4.1 percent from the current budget, the Finance Ministry reported to the Cabinet on Sept. 9.

The figure was a formal tally of requests submitted by individual ministries and agencies by the Aug. 31 deadline, and the ministry has begun the process of screening the demands. Although demands for general expenditures, the policy-related portion of the budget, were 0.7 percent less than the current year’s level of 45.11 trillion yen, the total figure grew due to the increased costs of servicing debts and tax grants to local governments.

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