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Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa reiterated Wednesday that the government will take all necessary measures to prop up the economy if it falls into negative growth on an annual basis.

Shiokawa’s comments at a regular news conference were a reference to the International Monetary Fund’s intention to revise downward its economic growth projection for Japan in 2001 to a contraction of about 0.2 percent from the 0.6 percent growth projected in April.

Shiokawa said he has not been officially informed of the IMF’s move.

In early July, Shiokawa pledged to his Group of Seven partners that Tokyo will prevent negative growth on an annual basis and will take all necessary steps if indications surface that the economy may fall into negative growth.

The economy contracted a real 0.2 percent in the January-March quarter from the previous quarter due largely to weak exports induced by the slowing U.S. economy and to decelerating corporate investment.

Shiokawa has suggested the government will compile a supplementary budget for the current fiscal year to stimulate the weakening economy if figures in autumn confirm further deterioration.

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