Two opposition party leaders railed Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto after his Monday speech to the Diet, saying his administration has failed to come to grips with the current economic downturn.Liberal Party head Ichiro Ozawa termed the government’s recently announced economic measures — which Hashimoto again outlined in his speech — stopgap reactions that will not contribute to reforming Japan’s economic system. “The fact that the market remains stagnant shows that the economic measures have been considered as not helping to revitalize the economy,” Ozawa said. “The government has lost its capability to rule the nation.”Ozawa said Hashimoto should explain why the country’s economy has soured, draft a clear blueprint for recovery and act upon it. Takenori Kanzaki, leader of Shinto Heiwa (New Party Peace), said Hashimoto’s speech failed to demonstrate awareness of the seriousness of the country’s economic conditions.”The government takes measures too late to be effective,” Kanzaki told reporters. He also said he was disappointed by Hashimoto’s speech and another by Finance Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka in that they failed to lay any responsibility on financial institutions and the Finance Ministry. Kanzaki said he will oppose the supplementary budget bill because it will not foster a recovery.

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