Business leaders on Thursday urged the new Cabinet of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to restore international confidence in Japan by swiftly tackling the nation’s mounting economic problems.
Some businesspeople praised Obuchi’s Cabinet choices as appropriate, but others said public sentiment still needs boosting and called on the government to create additional economic stimulus measures.
Takashi Imai, head of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), said he was satisfied at least with the new Cabinet picks. Those chosen for financial and economic fields have the ability to resolve the nation’s difficult economic issues, he said.
Shoichiro Toyoda, chairman of Toyota Motor Corp. and Imai’s predecessor as Keidanren chairman, applauded the selection of former Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa as the new finance minister. “In such a period of crisis, I think Mr. Miyazawa is the most appropriate person for the post of finance minister. U.S. government officials will accept remarks made by Mr. Miyazawa on economic issues,” Toyoda said. “Taichi Sakaiya (new head of the Economic Planning Agency) is also a good choice because he is a man of many good ideas.”
Imai also added that with Prime Minister Obuchi’s strong leadership, the new Cabinet should hold talks actively with opposition parties to enable the early Diet passage of important bills. “The new Cabinet should increase its accountability over its policies and make efforts to improve the trust of both the Japanese and international communities,” he said.
Jiro Ushio, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai), said that prompt action by the new government is necessary to eliminate the feeling of economic stagnation and insecurity in Japan.
Ushio said policies to be implemented by the new Cabinet include individual and corporate tax cuts to start in the next fiscal year and a solution to the financial sector’s nonperforming loans.
Jiro Nemoto, chairman of the Japan Federation of Employers’ Associations (Nikkeiren), also called on the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to cooperate with opposition parties.
In addition to the immediate implementation of the already announced economic package worth roughly 16.65 trillion yen, Nemoto also stressed the need for compiling another supplementary budget of 10 trillion yen for the current fiscal year.
During his campaign for the LDP presidency earlier this month, Obuchi pledged to draw up such an extra budget. “I’d like to ask Prime Minister Obuchi to appear on TV at least once a month to deliver his message to the public,” he said.
On the same day, Keidanren proposed a set of policy requests to be implemented by the incoming Cabinet, including tax reforms, deregulation and the creation of new jobs. It also said Japan must provide continuous support for ailing Asian countries while working to stabilize the value of the yen.
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