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The education ministry plans to seek ¥45 billion in its fiscal 2010 budget request to help prevent high school students facing financial difficulties from dropping out, ministry sources said Thursday.

School expense subsidies are already in place for elementary and junior high school pupils, but the envisaged aid would be the first of its kind for high school students, they said, noting the new program is aimed at an estimated 450,000 students with annual household incomes of ¥3.5 million or less.

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