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The Lower House passed a government-proposed bill Tuesday that would serve as the framework for what Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto calls “a new, streamlined, efficient and transparent government.”

The bill aims to reduce the number of government ministries and agencies to 13 from the current 22, starting in January 2001. The Liberal Democratic Party and its two smaller allies — the Social Democratic Party and New Party Sakigake — supported the bill, while all opposition parties voted against it during a plenary session of the Lower House.

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