Horst Koehler, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, expressed support Tuesday for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s efforts to rehabilitate Japan’s economy through structural reforms.

The visiting Koehler had separate talks with Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa and Financial Services Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa.

Shiokawa explained the government’s efforts to implement a series of economic measures announced in April to achieve a quick economic recovery, stressing that reform and recovery would not contradict each other under Koizumi’s policies, a Finance Ministry official said.

Citing the recent global economic downturn, Koehler underlined the importance of Japan securing a swift recovery and conveyed support for Koizumi’s reforms, the official said.

During his meeting with Yanagisawa, Koehler said it is important that Japan strengthen its financial sector, which has been saddled with problem loans, a Financial Services Agency official said.

In April, the government said it would urge major banks to complete final disposal of bad loans within three years.

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