German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Tuesday he has become confident of Japan’s economic recovery through talks with Japanese government and business leaders during his three-day visit here.

Speaking at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Schroeder praised Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s efforts to resuscitate the economy, including reforms in the nation’s financial system.

“Since the world’s economies are closely inter-woven, Japan’s economic trouble can affect others,” he said. “But with Prime Minister Obuchi’s economic reform steps now taken, I am positive that Japan will return to a growth path, bringing benefits to the entire global economy.”

In his meetings with Japanese business leaders, Schroeder said, he had an impression that the business community here retains “strong optimism” about the prospect of economic recovery.

“The Japanese economy is obviously improving its performance, when you look at the estimated 0.5 percent growth in gross domestic product this fiscal year and further growth for the next term,” Schroeder said.

Before leaving Japan later in the day, Schroeder attended a symposium in Tokyo on “challenges of globalization,” where he focused on the negative side of economic globalization, such as the issue of unemployment resulting from fast changes in industrial structures.

“In many countries, people are urging their governments to resolve the problem of unemployment, but governments alone can never deal with this,” he said. “Challenges of globalization can only be resolved through cooperation among different social groups at local, national and international levels.”

Regarding this point, Schroeder and Obuchi had agreed the previous day to create a bilateral forum between the two countries’ management, labor unions and labor authorities in an effort to reduce unemployment.

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