An advisory panel to Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on Thursday selected 14 main issues that it will address in its attempt to help the government achieve full-scale economic recovery within two years.

The 10-member Strategic Economic Council also announced it will compile opinions on the 14 themes by Sept. 25. The opinions will deal with achieving two specific goals set by the prime minister:

1) doubling people’s living, business and recreational space in five years;

2) creating some 500,000 new jobs through economic structural reform over the next two years.

Speaking at the outset of Thursday’s meeting, Obuchi explained the two goals and asked the council to come up with its views, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka told reporters.

The prime minister is to present the goals at today’s Cabinet meeting and instruct concerned ministries to come up with their ideas as well, Nonaka said.

SEC Chairman Hirotaro Higuchi, who is also chairman of Asahi Breweries, told a news conference that the council will compile its opinions at its next meeting, slated for Sept. 25, based on ideas brought up by each council member.

Also in the next meeting, he said, the council will hopefully sum up ideas on three themes that need to be addressed immediately:

1) bringing a quick end to bad loan problems;

2) implementing policies with an immediate impact on the economy;

3) improving the efficiency of public works projects.

The council, which was launched last month, was initially commissioned to work out medium- to long-term measures to revive the nation’s economy and create a bright future for the Japanese people.

In the face of an acute deterioration of the nation’s economy, the council has decided to take up the three immediate issues along with those for the medium- to long-term, said Iwao Nakatani, the council’s acting chairman and a Hitotsubashi University professor.

He said that the 14 themes have been selected in accordance with a three-year scenario toward full-scale recovery. “We will wipe out deflationary concerns by the end of this fiscal year, and firm up grounds for economic recovery in fiscal 1999, then put the economy on a full-scale recovery path in fiscal 2000,” he said.

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