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Japan negotiates reform package

The Japanese government and opposition parties yesterday negotiated furiously on a compromise political reform package, after the Prime Minister's reform proposals were voted down last week, writes Terry McCarthy in Tokyo.

Morihiro Hosokawa's aides have hinted that he might step down and call new elections if a compromise is not reached by Saturday, when the parliamentary session ends. Pressure from the business community increased on all the parties to reach a consensus so that the government can tackle the economy.