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Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, expressed hope Wednesday that financial reform bills now before the Diet will be enacted and implemented as soon as possible.

In a speech at the Federation of Bankers Associations of Japan, Brown also urged countries not to resort to isolationism or protectionism in times of economic crisis.

“The essential answer to the problems of the moment is not less globalization, no new national structures to separate and isolate economies,” he said. “Our urgent need is closer cooperation, continuing dialogue and an unwavering commitment to open commerce.”

Brown, whose title is equivalent to finance minister, stressed that all the industrialized countries — those in Europe, North America and Japan — must bear their fair share of maintaining growth of the world economy. “No one country can either escape its responsibility to play its part in sustaining global demand or be required to bear the whole burden and thereby encourage protectionist sentiment,” he said.

In promoting such a process, Japan’s stagnant economic situation must not become an excuse for the nation’s decreased commitment to the international regime of economic globalization. “Japan is clearly not responsible for the Asian crisis. But Japan can be part of the solution,” he said. “That means using macroeconomic policy tools to boost domestic demand and restore business and consumer confidence.”

On financial reform bills currently under Diet discussion, Brown expressed hope that these will be passed quickly and implemented in a speedy and decisive manner. “Here in Japan, the restoration of financial stability is a top priority in order to ensure that efforts to stimulate the economy can be effective,” he said. “Continuing financial sector instability will make Japan’s economic recovery much more difficult by hampering efforts to stimulate domestic demand.”

In this respect, Britain is ready to support Japan’s efforts, especially in establishing new supervisory systems that will promote a transparent and well-regulated financial sector, Brown added.

Brown exchanged views on Japan’s economic and financial problems with Bank of Japan Gov. Masaru Hayami in a meeting later in the day, according to the central bank.

Brown, appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in May 1997, is visiting to “further understand the current situation of the Japanese economy,” BOJ officials said.

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