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Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa said Thursday it would be “extremely difficult” to carry out permanent tax cuts as part of proposed reductions of more than 1 trillion yen for fiscal 2003.

His comments before a House of Councilors committee session indicate he is cool to the idea floated by private-sector members of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, a top government policy-setting panel, to cut corporate income taxes funneled to the national government.

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