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With the leaders of the four leading economic organizations before him, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto renewed on Tuesday his pledge to make the greatest efforts to rebuild the economy and stabilize the financial system.”The government will do its best to make this new year a good one for the nation,” Hashimoto said during a new year party for members of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), the Japan Federation of Employers’ Associations, the Japanese Association of Corporate Executives, and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.At the same time, Hashimoto urged the business leaders to make their own efforts at overcoming the stagnant economy. Hashimoto added that economic recovery and financial stability are necessary for Japan to play a leading role in Asia, where recent financial troubles in several countries, including Japan, have interacted and further devalued the currencies of several countries.Kosaku Inaba, head of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, greeted the participants by saying that the economy can break out of its stupor mainly through the efforts of the private sector. He said the government should quickly enact bills to put Hashimoto’s hastily announced steps into action, including a 30 trillion yen scheme to help ailing financial institutions and a 2 trillion yen cut in income and residential taxes to boost consumption.

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