The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the chief spender of public works outlays, will seek a budget of 7.9 trillion yen to fund its activities in fiscal 2002, ministry officials said Saturday.

Of the total, requests associated with public works expenditures account for 7.3 trillion yen, the same amount as in fiscal 2001, which started last April 1, the officials said.

The figure is the same as in the current fiscal year because the government has demanded that budget requests not increase, they said.

Of the 7.9 trillion yen, planned expenditures associated with the “seven key project fields” specified by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi were increased to 5.2 trillion yen, they said.

The seven fields Koizumi pledged to emphasize in the allocation of budgetary resources include the redevelopment of urban areas, the environment, reinvigoration of regions and measures to fend off the adverse effects of the nation’s rapidly graying populace.

The ministry requested 2.5 trillion yen to redevelop urban areas, up 8 percent over the corresponding sum in fiscal 2001, while requesting 1.7 trillion yen to revitalize regional areas, up 4 percent.

Planned expenditures to improve the environment were upped 20 percent to 400 billion yen, while the ministry envisioned seeking an 11 percent rise in outlays to deal with the aging population to 300 billion yen, they said.

By type of public works, the ministry envisions holding down outlays for conventional projects such as dams, trunk roads and sewerage systems by 1 percent to 2 percent, they said.

Planned outlays to expand bullet train lines also remain identical to those set aside for the current fiscal year.

Concerning the potential effects of the planned public works projects, the officials said the ministry expects the plan to introduce the Intelligent Transport System — based on the car travel guidance system, the computerization of highways and the electronic toll collection system — to create 1.07 million new jobs and new demand worth a total of 60 trillion yen in the coming years.

Construction for public rental housing complexes to replace obsolete ones with new buildings is expected to create 1.4 million new jobs and 80 trillion yen in fresh demand over the next 10 to 15 years, it said.

The government plans to slash the combined expenditure for public works projects planned by the land and infrastructure ministry and other government agencies for fiscal 2002 by 10 percent, while exempting the seven key selected fields from the planned cuts.

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