Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto indicated Oct. 17 his opposition to the use of deficit-covering bonds to finance any special income tax cuts for propping up the economy, stressing that increased efforts to change the nation’s economic structure are more important in the longer term.Responding to questions before a plenary Lower House session, the prime minister said his efforts to reduce the nation’s fiscal deficit are essential in improving the makeup of the economy. The government should not choose the easy path of relying on fiscal stimulus measures but carry out deregulation that will result in growth led by private-sector demand, he said. “There will be pain in the short-term, but I believe that in the mid- to long term this will prove effective in reinvigorating the economy,” he said.On the issue of including in a supplementary budget for the current fiscal year a portion of the outlays earmarked for improving agricultural areas, Hashimoto only said that such extra budgets were formed to meet sudden changes during the course of the year. He noted that the large-scale supplementary budgets to help jump-start the economy in the past were in part to blame for the nation’s poor fiscal health. Deliberations in the Lower House began Oct. 17 on a bill that writes into law the government’s self-imposed fiscal reconsolidation targets.

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