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Requests for the fiscal 2003 general account budget from government ministries and agencies stand at 86.78 trillion yen, up 6.8 percent from the initial budget for the current fiscal year, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

The request amount has risen because the ministry has given ministries leeway to request up to 20 percent more than usual for discretionary spending and public investment in a bid to inspire more innovative requests.

But with the government committed to keeping the budget at or below the fiscal 2002 level, some of these requests will be rejected.

The ministry hopes to reduce the total request figure by more than 5.5 trillion yen by the time it compiles the budget in December.

Excluding requests based on the 20 percent leeway rule, the budget requests total 84.02 trillion yen, as reported in late August.

The latest figure incorporates the requests that had been filed with the Finance Ministry as of the end of August. A report on the requests was submitted to a Cabinet meeting in the morning.

Most ministries have made full use of the 20 percent dispensation, according to a Finance Ministry official.

The ministry will screen and trim the requests to the same levels as those seen in fiscal 2002 or below toward the end of the year, in line with the pledge of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to control the nation’s huge public debt. A draft budget for fiscal 2003 is expected to be proposed to the Cabinet in December, submitted to the Diet in January and adopted in the spring.

According to the report, requests for policy-related general expenditures — one of the three pillars of the general account — total 50.87 trillion yen, up 7 percent from the initial fiscal 2002 budget.

Debt-serving costs, the second pillar, total 17.29 trillion yen.

Requests for tax allocation grants from the central government to local governments, the third pillar, total 18.62 trillion yen.

Meanwhile, requests for semigovernmental corporations under general-account and special-account budgets total 3.64 trillion yen, down 12.3 percent from the fiscal 2002 budget.

Requests for policy-related projects by semigovernmental corporations under the fiscal investment and loan program, known as the “zaito” program, total 26.56 trillion yen, down 0.9 percent from funds allocated for fiscal 2002.

The ministry said 24 FILP institutions will issue 3.24 trillion yen worth of FILP organization bonds in fiscal 2003, up from the 2.71 trillion yen issued by the same number of institutions in fiscal 2002.

FILP bonds are issued by public corporations without government guarantees.

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