Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi renewed his pledge Thursday to put the economy on a recovery path within two years and stressed that the government will do all it can do to achieve that goal.In a speech at a Tokyo hotel, Obuchi reiterated that the government will swiftly compile a third supplementary budget that will include economic stimulus measures worth more than 10 trillion yen.The government also plans to work on details of the already pledged tax cuts worth more than 6 trillion yen, the prime minister said.Obuchi said he has told his Cabinet ministers to propose measures to shore up the economy, adding that Construction Minister Katsutsugu Sekiya has already come up with a step to ease the burden of housing loan payments. “Big negative growth will be inevitable in fiscal 1998, but I think policies compiled in the next few months will be the major crossroads for putting Japan’s economy back on a full-scale recovery track,” he said.Speaking about financial reform laws that go into effect today, Obuchi said it is critically important to resolve the nonperforming loan problem at banks and get the nation’s financial system functioning properly. “The government would like to put continuous efforts into creating a system where banks, which are the heart of the economy, can pump blood into the very tips of Japan’s economic activities,” Obuchi said.Responding to growing calls from the opposition camp for an extraordinary Diet session soon, the prime minister said it is necessary given the mounting issues the government must tackle. However, he did not specify a date.Obuchi also said the Liberal Democratic Party, which falls short of a majority in the Upper House, is willing to seek alliances with opposition parties. “We need to seriously consider whether we will individually cooperate with other opposition parties for each bill, or whether we will seek to form a major alliance with a particular party,” said Obuchi, who is also LDP president.
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