The government suffered its first revenue shortfall in four years in fiscal 1997, mainly because of a substantial drop in corporate tax revenues amid the sluggish economy, according to preliminary figures released Monday by the Finance Ministry.

Revenue for fiscal 1997, which ended March 31, fell below expenditures by 1.56 trillion yen, the ministry said. Overall tax collection for fiscal 1997 was 2.22 trillion yen lower than the initial estimate.

In the fiscal 1997 budget, including supplementary outlays, the government estimated a general account tax revenue of 56.226 trillion yen. But revenue reached only 54 trillion yen.

The revenue shortfall is attributed mainly to the fall in corporate income tax, which accounts for a quarter of all tax receipts. Corporate tax revenue was initially forecast to rise 1.9 percent to 14.758 trillion yen, but fell short of that projection by about 1.28 trillion yen.

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