Staff writer

Japan and the 15-nation European Union have set their regular ministerial talks for Oct. 12 in Tokyo to discuss both bilateral and international economic issues, government sources said Monday.

Among other issues, the global economic crisis, which recently has further deepened due to Russia’s political and economic turmoil, is expected to dominate the meeting, the sources said.

Among the Japanese to participate in the Japan-EU ministerial talks, which are the first of their kind in more than 2 1/2 years, will be Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura; International Trade and Industry Minister Kaoru Yosano; and Taichi Sakaiya, director general of the Economic Planning Agency, the sources said.

The EU delegation will be headed by Sir Leon Brittan, vice president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, the sources said.

The sources said that at the Tokyo meeting, the EU, whose banks have a larger exposure to Russia than their counterparts in Japan, is expected to give its views on the Russian situation and explain its policy toward Russia.

At a two-day meeting that ended Sunday in Salzburg, Austria, EU foreign ministers expressed readiness to help Russia get out of its financial and economic turmoil while urging Moscow to continue economic reforms without returning to a Soviet-era “command economy.”

The EU foreign ministers also called on the International Monetary Fund to become more flexible in implementing its aid programs to Russia, considering the impact of the current Russian crisis on social conditions, especially on the eve of winter.

At the Japan-EU ministerial talks in Tokyo, the EU is also expected to urge Japan to stabilize its weak financial system, stimulate its stagnant economy and import more from its Asian neighbors, which are also suffering economic crises, the sources said.

The Japanese and EU ministerial-level officials are also expected to discuss ways to promote electronic commerce and a new round of world trade liberalization negotiations expected to start in 2000, the sources said.

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