• Kyodo

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Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada has instructed the government to cut new hires of civil servants for fiscal 2013 by 70 percent compared with the number in fiscal 2009, a much steeper reduction than the 40 percent in a recent proposal, sources said Friday.

The instruction from Okada, who is tasked with administrative reforms, is part of the administration’s spending cuts designed to make a consumption tax increase more palatable to the public, the sources said.

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