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Koizumi vows to consider DPJ proposal to slash special accounts.

TOKYO, Sept. 30 Kyodo

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi promised Friday the government will ''seriously consider'' an opposition proposal to slash the number of special budgetary accounts to six from the current 31 to save 5.9 trillion yen.

Seiji Maehara, president of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, made the proposal in a House of Representatives Budget Committee session to try to enable the Diet to scrutinize the special accounts.

Unlike the general account, the contents of the special accounts, financed mainly by special-purpose taxes, are not subject to Diet debate and critics say they are determined behind closed doors without close examination.

Maehara, 43, said the government has been compiling an austere general-account budget to tackle Japan's strained finances but huge waste is occurring in the special accounts.

He noted the annual special-account budget totals 412 trillion yen, compared with the general-account budget amounting to only 82 trillion yen.

It was Maehara's first free debate with the premier as the opposition leader, and Koizumi responded seriously to the proposal.

As for the government's special treasury for road construction, Koizumi reiterated a plan to review the mechanism comprehensively, including whether to lower temporarily raised taxes on drivers, transfer some resources to local governments and diversify its use.

The government plans to reach a conclusion on the road-related coffers by the end of this year. The government estimates its size at about 4.4 trillion yen in fiscal 2005.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Oct 3, 2005
Words:239
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