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Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa said Friday he may consider extending the tax break on mortgages as part of efforts to boost the economy.

“The policy regarding housing boils down to taxes, and changing this concerns the issue of how we view the entire economy,” Shiokawa told a news conference when asked whether he would be willing to extend the tax break.

“I would like to discuss this thoroughly with the party,” he said, referring to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The tax break allows mortgage-holders to deduct 1 percent of the amount they must pay back from their taxable income for 10 years. The percentage that can be deducted will be pared down from 2004 and abolished completely by 2005.

The Finance Ministry has been reluctant to extend the tax break, because it would reduce the already dwindling tax revenues.

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