TOKYO, FEB. 5 -- Leaders of Japan's dominant Liberal Democratic Party breathed a sigh of relief today after the U.S. State Department said it would be all right for Tokyo to limit its Persian Gulf monetary aid to non-military uses.

Within minutes after it was reported here that State Department spokesman Margaret Tutwiler had said that there would be no problem with such restrictions, Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu and his aides trumpeted the announcement to members of the national Diet, or parliament, who are engaged in a furious debate over Kaifu's promise to contribute an additional $9 billion to the multinational effort in the gulf.

To win legislative approval for that pledge, Kaifu has assured the country that none of the money would go directly to military uses, an assertion necessary for Kaifu to gain support of a minor party, the Komeito, whose support he must have for his plan to win Diet passage.

But last week Secretary of State James A. Baker III threw a monkey wrench into the complex political works here when he told reporters in Washington that all Japan's money would go to the U.S. military effort. That comment, labeled "Baker's gaffe" in the Japanese media, became a burning controversy in the Diet. Tutwiler's statement Monday quickly cooled the fire.

The Japanese debate continued under the shadow of American politics today, though, as Diet members opposing any further Japanese contribution to the gulf effort complained about President Bush's budget proposals for the coming year.

The source of complaints was that Bush did not ask for a tax increase to pay for the gulf war. For Japan, in contrast, Kaifu's cabinet has called for steep one-year hikes in oil, business and cigarette taxes to raise money for the $9 billion contribution.

Kaifu's Finance Minister, Ryutaro Hashimoto, addressed this by citing U.S. tax increases passed last year, before the war started. Hashimoto also referred to the sagging state of the U.S. economy.

Tutwiler's comment came at a Monday briefing in which she told reporters: "We anticipate our needs for logistic support will exceed {$9 billion}. Therefore, we do not expect the issue of restrictions will become a practical problem."