Abe tells Keidanren of budget goals

Kyodo

Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe met Tuesday with senior members of Keidanren, the nation’s largest business lobby, saying that his new government intends to compile a large extra budget to tackle deflation.

In his first talks with Keidanren since it became clear he will be the next prime minister, Abe also said his government hopes to introduce inflation targets with the Bank of Japan to achieve an annual inflation rate of 2 percent to help weaken the yen and lift stocks, a Keidanren official said.

“Restoring a strong economy will lead to the return of a powerful Japan,” Abe told the business leaders, who called on him to address key issues such as the strong yen, energy, and rebuilding areas hit by last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

“We strongly hope that (the country) will overcome its difficulties under strong leadership,” said Fumiaki Watari, chairman of Keidanren’s advisory board, citing economic, fiscal, diplomatic and security issues. Keidanren Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura did not attend the meeting in Tokyo because of an illness.

Following the LDP’s landslide victory in Sunday’s election, Abe is slated to be named prime minister and form a new Cabinet next week.

At the meeting with Keidanren, Abe was asked to notify U.S. President Barack Obama during a bilateral meeting, possibly in January, that Japan will participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks, according to a Keidanren official.

Abe responded that he will “discuss the TPP thoroughly” but did not say whether he would make such an announcement, the official said.