The Environment Ministry said Thursday it will seek 26.6 billion yen to promote environmentally friendly business practices in its budgetary request for fiscal 2004.

The request is in line with the ministry’s policy of pursuing both environmental protection and economic growth to achieve sustainable development, a ministry official said.

The programs include supporting regional business initiatives such as wind- and solar-power generation as well as eco-tourism projects.

The ministry will encourage more companies to care about environment management by submitting a bill to create a system to evaluate their performance in this regard.

The ministry is requesting a total of 310 billion yen for fiscal 2004, up 18.3 percent from the current year’s budget.

It is seeking 179.4 billion yen for projects to counter illegal dumping and to manage waste properly, including beefed up patrols to prevent illegal dumping.

The ministry is requesting 2.785 billion yen to continue its medical support of residents in Kamisu, Ibaraki Prefecture, who fell ill after consuming arsenic-contaminated water believed to be caused by poison gas abandoned by the Imperial Japanese Army at the end of World War II.

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