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The Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) urged the government Thursday to revise laws and taxes to help reinvigorate domestic industries.

Keidanren Chairman Takashi Imai met with Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and requested that the government take measures to make it easier for manufacturers to get rid of mounting liabilities by issuing new shares to creditor banks, who would then writeoffs of bad loans, according to Keidanren officials.

Imai stressed that the debt-equity swap scheme is an issue to be discussed solely by parties in questions, noting that he was not asking the government to interfere.

He then asked Obuchi to help create an environment conducive to the debt-equity scheme. In particular, Imai wants a review of an antimonopoly law that prohibits a bank from owning more than 5 percent of outstanding shares of a manufacturing company.

Imai had earlier met with heads of major banks to discuss the debt-equity swap scheme. The bankers, however, were reportedly reluctant to accept the risky scheme, in which there would be no guarantee that the new shares would maintain their value.

Imai told Obuchi that both Keidanren and bank heads agreed that the swap scheme should not be eyed as an easy way out for troubled companies, but rather that it is only one way in which a creditor could “collect” troubled loans, Keidanren officials said.

Imai also asked for other measures to help reinvigorate domestic industries, including the liberalization of job agencies and the revision of laws to make it easier for a manufacturer to convert land designated for industrial use into other purposes.

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