GROWTH OF JAPAN'S AID BUDGET LOWEST EVER IN 1994-95

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Japan, the world's largest aid donor, plans to hold growth in its official development assistance (ODA) to its lowest level ever in the 1994-95 fiscal year, Foreign Minister Tsutomu Hata said yesterday.

Japan's aid budget will grow at a record low rate of 4.8 percent to $10 billion in the fiscal year starting April 1, Mr. Hata told reporters following talks with Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii. ``Under the tight fiscal conditions, I think we have drafted a budget with a humanitarian touch,'' Hata said, referring to increased grants and aid for ODA activities.

Japan's economic slump has caused tax revenue shortfalls, prompting the government to draft a tight-fisted national budget. Japan has pledged to expand its aid disbursement to $70 billion to $75 billion over the five years beginning in calendar year 1993, from the previous five-year target of $50 billion.

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