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Work on the government’s stalled fiscal 2006 budget got a push Monday when Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki to set the budget guidelines for Cabinet approval by the end of the week.

“The budget will reflect our commitment to fiscal reform by reining in social welfare and public works costs,” Tanigaki said.

The Finance Ministry has not been able to decide on a cap for budget requests from government ministries and agencies due to the battle within the Liberal Democratic Party over postal privatization.

The Prime Minister’s Office feared talk about cutting medical and welfare costs would antagonize LDP members still further.

The cap is customarily set by the end of July, and ministries submit their budget requests by the end of August.

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