• Kyodo

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U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Kenneth Dam said Thursday that the United States is hoping for accelerated economic growth in Japan.

Speaking to a small group of reporters, Dam said that Washington wants to strengthen bilateral dialogue in order to help Tokyo fix the nation’s economy, which is suffocating under the burden of bad loans.

The U.S. is “concerned” about the situation in Japan and would like to see the Japanese economy grow “more rapidly,” remarked Dam, who was sworn in Tuesday as the No. 2 Treasury official.

While voicing support for the economic reform program of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Dam said his department wants to promote dialogue with Japan and share Washington’s experience of bad-loan disposals at financial institutions.

“We have to understand Japan better and we have to look at our own domestic economy and see if we have anything to offer really in terms of expertise, and I think we do,” he said.

Dam served as deputy secretary of state in the administration of former President Ronald Reagan.

Dam said the U.S. experience of dealing with the savings and loans crisis of the early 1990s is particularly useful.

He added, however, that “there’s a lot to discuss” regarding Japan’s bad-loan problem.

The Finance Ministry and the U.S. Treasury Department will soon begin dialogue on financial issues under a new framework for bilateral economic talks agreed upon by Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush at their June 30 meeting.

Dam dismissed concerns over the possibility that the slowing U.S. economy could lapse into a recession.

“There is no indication in the statistics we’ve entered negative territory,” he said, adding that automotive sales and housing construction have been strong, while U.S. productivity is also solid.

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