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Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori will promote the extra budget, the development of information technology and the continuation of talks with North Korea and Russia in his policy speech Thursday when an extraordinary session of the Diet begins, government sources said Sunday.

In the speech, Mori will talk of the government’s plan to submit a fiscal 2000 supplementary budget of several trillion yen to boost public works projects, including those aimed at expanding IT.

Mori is expected to release the exact amount of the budget after the government approves the figure at a top-level budget meeting on Wednesday, the sources said.

Economic Planning Agency chief Taichi Sakaiya, speaking on a Sunday television program, said the total will come to 3 trillion yen or 4 trillion yen.

The sources also said Mori will convey to the Diet his intention to proceed with talks on normalizing diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

Referring to his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tokyo earlier this month, Mori will also mention plans to continue efforts toward a peace treaty with Russia.

On IT, he will outline plans to submit a bill stipulating the basic ideas and initial plans of the state’s IT project, including the roles of government and business.

The policy speech will also cover a plan for a bill on lifting government regulations to boost business opportunities over the Internet.

Current regulations require the use of paper documents in such transactions as mail-order shopping and package tours, and also require that sales of products such as insurance be conducted face-to-face.

Mori’s public education reform proposals will include those for creating closer relationships between teachers and students, smaller class sizes, support for teachers, and for encouraging students to do community service, the sources said, adding Mori is considering revising the Fundamental Law of Education next year.

During the 72-day Diet session, lawmakers are expected to discuss bills to revise the proportional representation election system for the House of Councilors, and another lowering the age limit for criminal responsibility from 16 to 14.

Other key bills will also include antigraft legislation prohibiting lawmakers from using their influence to manipulate public workers in return for money or goods.

Mori is expected to press for their passage by the end of the session on Dec. 1, the sources added.

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