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Top government and ruling party leaders basically agreed Sept. 10 on the draft of a bill that puts into law specific measures to achieve the government’s self-imposed fiscal reconsolidation targets.

The bill, which is to be submitted to this fall’s extraordinary Diet session, outlines spending limits on various key expenditures up to 2003. By that time, the nation’s fiscal deficit is scheduled to be down to 3 percent or less of gross domestic product, and deficit-covering bonds will have been abandoned.

The draft is to be finalized at a meeting of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s Fiscal Reform Council Sept. 14. Caps are to be placed on spending in such areas as defense, public works and social security, and annual progress in reducing the deficit is to be made public. Outlays related to the realignment and scaling down of U.S. military facilities on Okinawa, however, will be excluded from the defense spending limit, according to government officials.

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