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The 5 percent consumption tax will not be lowered at least for the time being, Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa reiterated Friday.

But there can be discussions about whether revenues from the consumption tax should be limited to social welfare outlays, Miyazawa said. However that does not mean he supports the idea, he added.

He also said he is not considering increasing income, residential and corporate tax cuts to 10 trillion yen as demanded by the Liberal Party, which Thursday agreed with the Liberal Democratic Party to form an alliance.

Miyazawa’s remarks came in a regular news conference in reference to Thursday’s agreement between Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Liberal Party leader Ichiro Ozawa.

The basic agreement included an item saying the two parties would immediately begin discussing tax issues, such as freezing the consumption tax, a policy pillar the Liberal Party is adamant on.

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