Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto on Friday stressed the need to deliver on government pledges to implement a 2 trillion yen pump-priming tax cut and to pass financial stabilization measures.Speaking before the House of Representatives Budget Committee, Hashimoto noted that markets have already responded favorably to the pledges; he said it is imperative to ensure that stock and currency markets are not thrown into confusion by government failure to implement the steps. “I am hoping these measures will be realized and made ready for utilization,” he said. “This is necessary to get rid of uncertainties” surrounding the nation’s economic prospects.In recent days, Tokyo stock prices have moved higher and the yen has firmed against the dollar as expectations mount for implementation of the relevant bills — expected to be submitted to the current Diet session — and for additional stimulus measures that have recently been hinted at.At the same time, “Japan must prop up its own economy and dispel fears over the creditworthiness of its banking industry, which in turn would help stabilize currencies and financial markets in Asia,” he said.Friday marked this Diet session’s first day of committee-level deliberations on the government-proposed supplementary budget for the current fiscal year. Hashimoto’s Cabinet hopes to have the committee vote on the pump-priming auxiliary budget by the middle of next week. It includes measures to implement 2 trillion yen worth of special income and resident tax cuts, and advanced payments on contracts for 1.5 trillion yen in public works projects initially earmarked for fiscal 1998.

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