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Finance Minister Hikaru Matsunaga said Tuesday he would welcome debate within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on further pump-priming measures, but added the priority is to secure Diet passage of the supplementary and fiscal 1998 budgets.

“It holds meaning for senior officials of the party to offer fresh ideas out of concern (for the current economic situation),” he told a morning news conference. On Saturday, Hiromu Nonaka, LDP senior deputy secretary general, proposed that the government compile a 6 trillion yen auxiliary budget for fiscal 1998, which begins April 1, that would include stimulus steps such as additional public works outlays.

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