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The government adopted an administrative reform outline Tuesday that aims to create a slimmer and more efficient government in January 2001.

The outline was adopted by the administrative reform promotion headquarters, headed by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and consisting of all Cabinet ministers.

Under the outline, the 22 existing ministries and agencies will be consolidated into one office, 10 ministries, two agencies and a commission overseeing public safety, while the number of state ministers will be cut to 14 from the current 18.

The outline also calls for establishing an entity to supervise financial policy separately from the ministry in charge of fiscal policies, although the exact status of the new entity — tentatively called the Financial Agency — has yet to be determined.

Based on the outline, the government will submit bills to the Diet in April after making adjustments to the plan, government sources said.

The total number of bureaus within the ministries will also be reduced to 96 from the current 128. “I am determined to put the best efforts into carrying out this huge task of administrative reform,” Obuchi told the reform headquarters.

Since the administrative reform law was enacted in June, the government has been working to map out details of each new ministry and agency.

However, controversial issues such as the names of the new ministries and the detailed process of separating the Finance Ministry’s fiscal and financial policymaking functions were not included in the outline due to strong opposition from bureaucrats and some politicians.

In the outline, the new ministries were tentatively named, and the names will be formally decided by the prime minister by the time the reform bills go to the Diet in April.

The fiscal and financial authorities were basically separated into the Treasury Ministry and Financial Agency under the Cabinet Office, but the relationship between the agency and the newly established Financial Reconstruction Commission still needs to be clarified.

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