Japan must quickly remove bad loans in order to revitalize the economy and put it back on the path of sustainable growth, the European Union’s new ambassador to Japan said Tuesday.

Speaking at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Ambassador Ove Juul Jorgensen stressed the need for Japan to promptly remove the shadow of non-performing assets from its economy, especially from the banking sector.

“Such problems are not unique to Japan and the general solutions are known from other countries’ experience,” he said. “There is no need to waste time reinventing the wheel.”

He expressed strong expectations to see, within this week, the Japanese government’s “very straightforward and effective” answer to the debt problem. “The focus of our concerns remains Japan,” he said, “because of its role as a major economic engine for the (Asian) region and the fact that the engine, stuttering since the early 1990s, has now clearly stalled.”

“This has to be set right as soon as possible, both for Japan’s sake and that of the regional and world economies,” he said.

Giving his support for the nation’s structural reform efforts, the ambassador suggested that Japan utilize foreign investment to further promote structural transformation.

In Europe, increased investment from Japan has helped strengthen the manufacturing base, inducing improvements in corporate performance and providing consumers with better products at more competitive prices, he said.

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