Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told his ministers Friday to strictly screen their budget requests for fiscal 2003 because of the government’s austerity policy, the top government spokesman said.

During a Cabinet meeting, Koizumi told his ministers to make use of reports by the Board of Audit about how to abolish unprofitable projects before they present budget requests to the Finance Ministry later this month, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told reporters.

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