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The government plans to cut its overall foreign aid by 4.0 percent in the fiscal 2009 general account budget, the 10th straight annual cut, although grant-in-aid and technical assistance — key items of the aid — marked their first hike in nine years, according to the state budget the Cabinet approved Wednesday.

But the Finance Ministry, in an apparent bid to downplay the downtrend, said the whole volume of official development assistance, including aid financed by special accounts and contributions to some international aid organizations, will mark an increase of around 14 percent in calendar 2009.

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