The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the Liberal Party have decided to hammer out common economic policy goals to pave the way for forming a coalition government.

At the first policy meeting held between Yukihiko Ikeda, head of the LDP Policy Research Council, and Takeshi Noda, Liberal Party secretary general and policy chief, the two agreed economic issues should be the initial priority since the two parties have already agreed to jointly compile the fiscal 1999 budget and discuss tax reform.

Yuya Niwa, deputy policy chief of the LDP, and Hirohisa Fujii, head of the Liberal Party’s fiscal policy committee, also attended the meeting.

Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who is also the president of the LDP, and Liberal Party leader Ichiro Ozawa agreed last week to establish a cooperative relationship and form a coalition government before the next ordinary Diet session, slated to begin in January.

To narrow differences, the four executives at Wednesday’s meeting will meet frequently to establish a common stance, party officials said.

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