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Japan’s public pension funds are expected to generate an investment profit of around 3 trillion yen in fiscal 2003, thanks to a global stock market recovery since the spring, the government said Friday.

This would mark the first time for the pension funds to produce an investment profit since fiscal 2001, when the Finance Ministry began transferring portions of the pension assets to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry for its discretionary management.

The welfare ministry is to take over the management of all the pension funds by fiscal 2008.

For the first two years of pension fund management at the discretion of the welfare ministry, the Government Pension Investment Fund, a special public corporation established on April 1, 2001, remained in the red.

The fund, which spends pension funds for investment in equities and bonds based on investment ratios decided by the welfare minister, incurred an investment loss of 3.2 trillion yen in fiscal 2001 and 2002.

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