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Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi ended a crisis in his ruling coalition on Friday, striking an accord with Liberal Party leader Ichiro Ozawa to resolve a dispute over the proposed cutting of Lower House seats that had pushed their eight-month-old alliance to the brink of collapse.

The leaders agreed that debate on a bill to cut 50 Lower House seats will be carried over to the next Diet session, and the two parties will try to carry out the seat reduction in time for the next Lower House election, which must be held before October 2000. The next extraordinary Diet session is expected to convene in October.

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