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The Foreign Ministry will seek a 15.3 percent increase to the foreign aid budget for fiscal 2005, it was revealed Thursday.

The envisaged foreign aid budget for fiscal 2005 is 576.6 billion yen, which includes a total of 57.6 billion yen in emergency grant aid for Iraqis, Afghans and Palestinians.

The total amount of the ministry’s fiscal 2005 budget request comes to 807.3 billion yen, up 11.9 percent from the current fiscal year.

The ministry reported the request Thursday morning to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which endorsed it before its submission to the Finance Ministry.

The Foreign Ministry’s budget for official development aid has continued to decrease each year since 2000 mainly due to the country’s protracted economic slump and domestic complaints that some of the funds were not spent effectively overseas.

The envisaged budgetary request also covers 1.56 billion yen to proceed with measures for free-trade agreements.

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