Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi must set a concrete time limit on overcoming the economic crisis and stake the fate of his Cabinet on achieving this recovery, the Committee for the Promotion of Political Reforms said Thursday.

In announcing its “emergency appeal” addressed to all Diet politicians, the private-sector group urged Obuchi to clarify how and when he will solve the bad loan problem and stabilize the nation’s financial system.

If he fails to live up to his words, the prime minister should take responsibility by stepping down and calling for a quick election by the Lower House, it said. Obuchi has promised to realize economic recovery within two years.

The committee, established in 1992, consists of scholars and critics on political affairs as well as business leaders and journalists. Kenzo Uchida, a critic and acting chairman of the committee, said that the prime minister should begin resolving the economic problem long before that, noting that the next few months will be a crucial period for setting a recovery course.

The committee called for greater leadership on the part of the prime minister and said he should approach in an integral and direct manner problems ranging from the liquidation of financial institutions and disposal of their nonperforming loans to measures to boost the economy and counter rising unemployment.

Specifically, it called for establishing an “economic crisis management headquarters” with the prime minister himself serving as chief-in-command and bringing together those with experience and expertise on economic issues on a full-time basis.

It also is opposed to the LDP’s idea of holding policy consultations with opposition parties ahead of Diet deliberations, and called for more open discussions in the Diet.

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