Both U.S. Ambassador Thomas Foley and James Leach, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Financial Services, called on Japan on Friday to stimulate domestic demand and help Asian economies recover.Leach, a Republican, said trade deficits with Asian countries will escalate political tensions in the U.S. if the region’s currencies are not stabilized.Foley said on a different occasion the same day that stimulating the Japanese economy and opening its market are crucial to helping return prosperity to the economy of Asia, which has been hit by financial crises. “The world needs now, more than ever, to have growing and open Japanese measures,” Foley said, adding that it is up to Tokyo to review and map out necessary measures.Leach echoed U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin’s remarks Wednesday in Washington in calling on Japan to take additional economic measures. “While the rest of Asia may have to tighten its belt, Japan should loosen.”Leach said a 41 percent increase last year in the U.S. trade deficit with Japan may be a potential target for the U.S. Congress. Leach was speaking at the Tokyo hall of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), an influential business lobby, while Foley made a speech at a luncheon meeting sponsored by the Asian Affairs Research Council.Foley said that cooperative partnership between the United States and Japan is vital for the growth and stability of the Asia-Pacific region. “Asia’s stability is crucial for both the United States and Japan. We must make determined, farsighted cooperative efforts to preserve that stability,” Foley said.The U.S. ambassador said that U.S. trade with Asia, including Japan, has grown considerably larger than that with Europe since the mid-1980s while Japanese exports to other Asian countries have exceeded those to the U.S. since 1991.A team comprising Leach and three other House members visited Hong Kong, China and South Korea prior coming to Japan, to research the economic crises in Asia.
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