Underscoring the need for fiscal restraint, Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa said Wednesday he wants to keep the issuance of new government bonds under 5 trillion yen when compiling an extra budget for fiscal 2002.

Although basic arithmetic brings the fresh bond issuance for the supplementary budget to between 5.5 trillion yen and 5.6 trillion yen, “I want to keep it below 5 trillion yen at all costs,” Shiokawa said at a news conference. “Government bond issues should not be decided by such simple mathematics. We want to slim them down as much as possible and issue only those that are absolutely necessary.”

Shiokawa has said the government will tap into unused funds in the fiscal 2002 budget to help fund the supplementary budget.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi ordered his government Friday to begin work on the specifics of the budget, which includes 1.5 trillion yen each for public works projects and safety net measures for dealing with the ill effects expected from the accelerated disposal of bad loans at the nation’s banks.

The drafting of the budget forces Koizumi to break his promise to impose fiscal discipline by capping fresh government bond issues at 30 trillion yen for the current fiscal year.

Koizumi has said the issuance of fresh government bonds should be kept to a minimum.

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