22 October 2001, 10:08  Gov't to revise economic target downward to contraction on Fri.

TOKYO, Oct. 22 (Kyodo) - Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told senior government officials and ruling coalition lawmakers on Monday that the government will revise downward its real economic growth target of 1.7% for the current fiscal year and announce a new figure on Friday, ruling bloc legislators said. Fukuda, speaking in a meeting of the senior officials and lawmakers held at the Diet building, was apparently referring to a government plan to restate the projection as an economic contraction. The government is considering revising the target to around minus 1%, after Japan's economy was hit by a drop in demand in the information technology sector and suffered a negative economic impact from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, government sources said. On the possibility of compiling a second extra budget for the current fiscal year, Fukuda did not rule it out, saying, "We will deal with it in a flexible but bold manner in the future," according to the lawmakers. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said last Friday he will take additional steps "as the occasion demands" in relation to a second supplementary budget. "I will not make us go down in a deflationary spiral. I will not cause confusion in the Japanese economy, including finances," the premier told reporters en route from Tokyo to Shanghai, where he attended the weekend summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

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