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Revisions to the Fiscal Structural Reform Law will be kept to a minimum, and current spending caps imposed on key expenditure areas will hopefully remain unchanged, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said Friday.

The caps cited in the law clamp down on outlays for such major spending brackets as social security, public works and official development assistance.

Speaking before the Upper House Budget Committee, Hashimoto said he would like the revisions to be passed during the current Diet session. The government began debate last week on revising the fiscal austerity law, which also calls for deficit-covering bond issuances to be reduced on a year-on-year basis to zero by fiscal 2003. The law has been criticized for binding fiscal policy.

On Thursday, the Conference on Fiscal Structural Reform agreed to leave specific details of how to change the law up to the prime minister, and Hashimoto is to reach a conclusion by Wednesday.

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