Staff writer

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will hold a high-level symposium in Tokyo on July 22 and 23 to discuss ways to prevent a recurrence of the financial and economic crisis that has plagued most Asian economies for the past two years, government sources said Friday.

The symposium will be cosponsored by the governments of Japan and Thailand and will be attended by senior officials, business executives and scholars from the 21 APEC member economies, the sources said.

Among participants in the APEC Symposium on the Asian Economy will be New Zealand Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, who will make an official visit to Tokyo in late July, the sources said.

The outcome of symposium discussions will be reported to annual meetings of APEC ministers and top leaders to be held in Auckland in September, the sources said.

The Asian financial and economic crisis erupted in Thailand in summer 1997 and spread to East Asia, ending a decade of remarkably high economic growth in the region. “Now APEC cannot sit idly by, because an early recovery of economic strength will lay the foundation for political and social stability in the region,” one government official said.

“Failure to get Asian economies back on the right track will cast gloom over the world economy as a whole. Therefore, the swift restoration of confidence in East Asian economies must be one of our urgent tasks on the eve of the 21st century,” the official said.

“APEC, a vehicle for economic prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, will lose its credibility if it fails to tackle the crisis squarely and provide prescriptions for recovery,” the official said. The sources said the APEC symposium will discuss urgent measures to be taken as well as steps for the medium and long term.

Such measures may range from industrial structural reforms and development of human resources to enhancing infrastructure and regional institutions, the sources said.

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