The ruling and opposition parties agreed Thursday to vote Monday on the fiscal 2001 budget both at the House of Councilors Budget Committee and during the chamber’s plenary session, making it certain the budget will pass the Diet before the April 1 start of the new fiscal year.

The agreement was reached at meetings of executive members of the committee and a house steering panel from the ruling coalition — the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and New Conservative Party — and the opposition camp, including the Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party.

The 82.65 trillion yen budget, submitted by the government on Jan. 31, was sent to the Upper House immediately after passing the House of Representatives on March 2.

If passed Monday as expected, it will be the third fastest passage of the budget since the end of World War II, following those passed on March 17, 2000, and March 22, 1995.

The fiscal 2001 budget includes a record-high 48.66 trillion yen in general expenditures to finance policy programs, including public works projects.

Revisions to the budget proposed by the three opposition parties are likely to be rejected.

The three parties in the House of Councilors submitted a bill Wednesday demanding a reduction of 4 billion yen in secret funds for the Cabinet Secretariat and the Foreign Ministry from the budget.

The ruling and opposition camps also agreed to split a final question-and-answer session on the budget into two separate sessions — one today and the other Monday. Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and all Cabinet members will attend.

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