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The Cabinet on Friday approved a 52.89 trillion yen fiscal investment and loan program, known as “zaito,” for fiscal 1999, 5.9 percent more than that for the current year.

The increased zaito reflects the government’s resolve to utilize the program to remedy the nation’s economic problems quickly, Finance Ministry officials said.

The zaito program has two faces — general outlays and investment funds for financial markets. The general outlays go to government-affiliated corporations and local governments, which will use the money to offer loans and make investments, while the investment funds portion uses postal deposits and public insurance funds.

The finalized zaito program calls for general outlays to increase 7.3 percent from the current fiscal term to 39.34 trillion yen and for 13.55 trillion yen to be managed in financial markets, up 1.9 percent from fiscal 1998.

Although 39.23 trillion yen had been allocated for the general outlays in a draft version approved Monday, some 110 billion yen has been further allocated for public firms’ projects after consultations between the ministry and the firms, the officials said.

The overall zaito budget, often called the second budget, is compiled separately from the government’s primary budget, the general account budget, which draws mainly on tax revenues.

Zaito funds to be managed in financial markets come from nontax income, including postal savings and public insurance funds, and must eventually be returned.

The general zaito outlays for fiscal 1999 call for more loans for small and midsize companies that are having difficulty raising funds due to the reluctance of commercial banks to extend loans to risky borrowers.

Specifically, Japan Finance Corp. for Small Business, a public corporation, will increase its lending reserves to 2.21 trillion yen, up 10 percent from the current year. If funds allocated for other public corporations, such as Japan Development Bank, are added, more than 9.3 trillion yen would be disbursed to enhance corporate financing.

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