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OSAKA — The newly elected chairman of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry said Monday he will make efforts to support the environment, information, welfare and tourism as leading areas in the next century.

Wa Tashiro, president of Kinki Nippon Railway Co., told a news conference after being named president at the OCCI’s general meeting that it is important to make Osaka an attractive city through the promotion of its traditional cultures so that the city and its businesses will be revitalized. “As the city’s infrastructure has almost been completed, the next step is to create new industries in such fields as welfare and information,” Tashiro said.

Tashiro, 72, succeeds Masafumi Onishi, an adviser to Osaka Gas Co. who served as chairman since November 1992.

During his tenure, Onishi set up centers to support venture businesses and contributed to inviting a 1995 summit meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to Osaka.

As the nation’s economy is still in the doldrums, Tashiro called on the government to continue to support small and midsize companies. “It is likely that small and midsize companies will again fall into serious trouble when the effects of the government-initiated pump-priming measures end,” he said.

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