Mori urged to maintain policies

Business leaders want economic recovery to remain focus

Business leaders on Wednesday hailed the Diet’s election of Yoshiro Mori as new prime minister, calling on him to continue the policies of Keizo Obuchi to put the economy firmly on a recovery track.

Takashi Imai, chairman of the Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), said the new prime minister should “clarify his policy plans on Japan’s structural reforms, such as competitive policy, social welfare and education, in the coming general election.”

Imai said the upcoming election, which must be held by mid-October, will serve as an opportunity for the new prime minister to clarify his policies. Although Mori supported the administrations of his predecessors — Obuchi and Ryutaro Hashimoto — he has not had the opportunity to push his own policies in his own words, Imai said.

“The new prime minister will have to fight the election,” Imai said. “I think that (Mori) should clarify the policies to be pursued by his administration. I hope that the election will be fought based on policies in the national interest.”

Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of the Japan Federation of Employers Associations (Nikkeiren), called on Mori, also leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, to take a “two-phase approach” in promoting Japan’s structural reform after putting the economy on a recovery path.

The economy is in “a crucial phase of securing a self-sustainable recovery,” which requires the new Cabinet to be “flexible in implementing economic policies,” said Akira Chihaya, chairman of the Japan Iron and Steel Federation.

Minoru Murofushi, chairman of the Japan Foreign Trade Council, called on the new Cabinet to implement “without delay” measures to ensure economic expansion led by private demand.

Kazumasa Koshiba, chairman of the Japan Department Stores Association, said the industry welcomes Mori’s appointment as new prime minister because of his strong leadership.

Toshifumi Suzuki, chairman of the Japan Chain Stores Association, called for the incoming Cabinet to “implement effective economic measures as personal consumption continues to show few signs of a recovery under the persistently severe employment situation.”

Hiroji Ota, chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Companies, said he expects the new Cabinet to “strive to settle Japan’s pending problems, such as an economic recovery and administrative, economic, educational and other structural reforms under Mori’s strong and experienced leadership.”