The government Thursday drew up the outline of new legislation that will serve as the basic law to start consolidating administrative organs in 2001.A government panel, consisting of all ministers and headed by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, met in the morning and decided on the outline, which mandates that the current 22 government ministries and agencies will be integrated into 12 ministries and one office. However, the outline does not specify when the transformation will be completed.The outline was drafted in line with a final report compiled last month by the Administrative Reform Council, a key government panel headed by Hashimoto. The council report recommends that the number of ministers be limited to between 15 and 17, including special ministers in charge of specific matters, such as financial markets and sexual equality in social participation.To streamline the government, the present 128 state bureaus will be reduced to about 90, and the number of government employees will be cut by 10 percent over a decade after the new administrative system is introduced, according to the draft. The outline also says a conference will be created to deal with a possible financial crisis under the newly planned Cabinet Office in line with an agreement made last week by the tripartite ruling alliance.The Finance Agency, a new organization that will take over financial market-related functions from the Finance Ministry, will be affiliated with the Cabinet Office, it says. The three controversial services of the Posts and Telecommunications Ministry will be transferred to a new public corporation in five years, it says.

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