With the Upper House still deliberating over the fiscal 1998 state budget, the Cabinet endorsed a stopgap budget March 27 with 7.86 trillion yen in outlays to cover the first 18 days of the new fiscal year, which begins Wednesday.

By law, once a budget clears the Lower House, it automatically takes effect after 30 days, regardless of how the Upper House votes on it. A stopgap budget is drawn up to cover the interim period.

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