Budgetary constraints may force Japan to cut back its four aid programs for small and midsize enterprises in the APEC region, a government official said Thursday.

Plans call for two of the four programs to be integrated into one next year. The programs are organized under the framework of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.

The move comes ahead of next week’s meeting in Shanghai of APEC ministers in charge of SMEs.

The two programs scheduled to be combined are an SME business network promotion forum, the third of which was held in Tokyo in February with 322 participants, and an SME and new business support workshop for government officials, the second of which went off in Tokyo in July.

The integration of the two, which each cost between 10 million yen and 20 million yen, into a public-private joint event is aimed at halving expenses, a small-business official said.

Launching projects solely funded by Tokyo requires endorsement from APEC ministers, but terminating them does not. The Japanese government has already canceled one other seminar this year, he said.

Under its fiscal and administrative reform drive, the Japanese government plans to slash official development assistance budgets by 10 percent.

The four Japanese projects are among 11 projects to be reported on at the eighth annual meeting of APEC SME ministers, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Shanghai.

Taiwan and the United States have initiated two projects each and the Philippines, Thailand and China have initiated one each.

No new projects will be launched at this year’s meeting, but Thailand is expected to make a new proposal that will likely be examined before the next ministerial gathering, according to the officials.

Tokyo will send Hideaki Omura, parliamentary secretary of economy, trade and industry, to speak on Japan’s public financial system for SMEs.