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Approval of the 81.79 trillion yen fiscal 2003 budget package by the Lower House Budget Committee — with little deviation from the ruling coalition’s schedule — should spell one victory for the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

However, deliberations on the budget, the first key topic in the 150-day regular Diet session that runs through June, have so far only revealed the vulnerability of the Koizumi Cabinet, Diet watchers say.

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