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The Finance Ministry on Wednesday proposed a slimmed down draft budget of 32.54 trillion yen for the fiscal 2001 investment and loan program, down 15 percent from the current year and its second straight year-on-year fall.

The decline is the largest since the creation of the program more than a century ago and reflects the introduction of a market-mechanism that will reform the investment and loan program in April by cutting loans to almost all public entities.

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