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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Monday ahead of a weeklong visit to ASEAN countries that he hopes to make the contents of Japan’s official development assistance qualitative. The government plans to slash its ODA budget by 10 percent in fiscal 2002.

“Japan faces severe financial conditions,” Koizumi said at his Official Residence, responding to a question about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ apprehensions over Japan’s planned ODA cuts. “I want ODA to have meaty contents.”

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