Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa will leave for San Francisco this evening to meet U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin for discussions on international economic problems and developments in the domestic economy.

It will be Miyazawa’s first meeting with his U.S. counterpart since assuming his post in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in July. Miyazawa will later chat with U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan over dinner.

The topics he is expected to cover with Rubin include the recent chain reaction of setbacks among global stock markets and Japan’s handling of its lingering banking sector troubles and overall economic gloom.

Rubin is expected to increase pressure on Tokyo to clear its domestic mess, a factor considered a backdrop to the global crisis, according to observers. Miyazawa and Rubin may also discuss the possibility of coordinating efforts among the Group of Seven industrialized nations to cope with these problems.

Both sides are holding back their expectations for a strong message following the talks. Vice Finance Minister Koji Tanami said Thursday it is the meeting at this critical moment that is important, not the results. Meanwhile, Miyazawa said Wednesday that he is not concerned about whether a joint statement will be issued.

In any case, what comes out of the bilateral talks between the finance chiefs of the world’s two biggest economies should affect global financial markets. “Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is no shortage of topics” for the meeting, Miyazawa told reporters Wednesday.

He said he will explain Tokyo’s increased efforts at pump-priming the lackluster economy, including an unusual 15-month budget and planned tax cuts worth 7 trillion yen.

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