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Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi told a regular Cabinet meeting that he plans to return half of the bonus he received earlier this month, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said Tuesday.

Obuchi’s decision came after he made a remark during a television program Monday that he would look into returning some of his bonus, considering the current deepening recession. Many top executives of Japanese companies have returned their bonuses due to poor business performance at their firms.

At a news conference after the Cabinet meeting, Nonaka said Cabinet ministers also expressed a willingness to return some of their bonuses, and Nonaka will further study this, including the amount to be returned.

In December, the prime minister received about 6.92 million yen and other ministers received nearly 4.53 million yen in bonuses. “After studying the issue, I would like to make a decision to return our bonuses and to convey the decision to each minister,” Nonaka said.

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