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On paper, the draft of the fiscal 2012 budget appears to indicate Japan has found a way to trim about ¥2 trillion in spending compared with the current year, but in reality the national debt is snowballing as bond issuance will exceed tax revenues for the third year in a row.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, a fiscal hawk and former finance minister, said earlier this month that it was imperative to get the country’s public finances back on track.

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