The government Friday announced the members of a new panel to be established under Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to discuss ways to beef up the competitiveness of the Japanese industry.

The establishment of the blue-ribbon panel was in line with the industrial resuscitation plan adopted in January, and the government hopes to have the body hold its first meeting later this month.

In announcing the plan at Friday’s regular Cabinet meeting, Obuchi said strengthening the competitiveness of Japanese manufacturers is essential to the nation’s economic recovery.

The panel, headed by the prime minister, will be composed of all Cabinet ministers and 17 business leaders.

They include: Naoyuki Akikusa, president of Fujitsu Ltd.; Nobuyuki Idei, president of Sony Corp.; Takashi Imai, chairman of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren); Jiro Ushio, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai); Kunio Egashira, president of Ajinomoto Co.; Hiroshi Okuda, president of Toyota Motors Corp.; and Shunji Koike, president of Sunlit Sungyo Co.

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