French President Jacques Chirac said Monday he is confident that the economic stimulus measures Japan announced last week will boost the economy, adding that the nation’s economic fundamentals are strong.

Chirac made the remarks during a meeting with Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who explained details of Japan’s pump-priming steps, according to Foreign Ministry officials.

Chirac said it is important for the international community to express its confidence in the Japanese economy, the officials said. Chirac’s stance is apparently in sharp contrast with that of the United States government, which welcomed Japan’s measures but called for further action.

Hashimoto and Chirac, meanwhile, agreed to jointly make efforts to address the Asian financial crisis at the upcoming summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations plus Russia in Birmingham, England, the officials said. They also touched on other issues likely to come up during the May 15-17 meeting.

In a speech earlier Monday, Chirac said Japan and France should jointly propose ways to strengthen and stabilize the international financial system. Speaking before members of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), the nation’s most influential business body, Chirac stressed the importance of international efforts to tackle the liquidity crisis in Asia and to prevent similar problems in the future.

He said Japan and France share the same view on improving the world’s financial system, saying that finance ministers from the two nations touched on the issue at an International Monetary Fund meeting held in Washington earlier this month. “The two nations should jointly hammer out measures to improve and make a joint proposal,” he said.

The president also expressed hope that the euro, the European currency that will be launched Jan. 1, along with the dollar, will play a role in stabilizing the world’s currency markets. The prospect that the euro will be in circulation in the near future saved Europe from the impact of the currency crisis in Asia, he said.

Regarding Japan’s efforts to pick up the economy, he said, “Important measures have already (been) taken and new measures have been announced. I hope these efforts by the Japanese government will be fully successful. “A healthy Japan economy is important for Asia and the world,” he added.

Chirac is visiting Tokyo to mark the start of “J’aime la France” (“Year of France”) celebrations.

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