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KARUIZAWA, Nagano Pref. — Business leaders should not look to big government to aid an economic recovery, the head of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives said Thursday.

Kakutaro Kitashiro, who is also the chairman of IBM Japan Ltd., said he did not think it right for the association to call for such measures. But some members voiced the need for further government spending to halt the prolonged deflationary trend.

The pros and cons were raised during the business group’s annual seminar. The two-day casual event began Thursday at this popular summer retreat.

Some corporate bosses criticized moves by politicians and bureaucrats to block the entry of for-profit companies into such fields as agriculture, education and hospital management.

“The argument by the opposition is that the for-profit entities are intrinsically evil. But businesses cannot survive without consumer support,” said Takeo Inokuchi, chief executive of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co.

Masamitsu Sakurai, president of Ricoh Co., called on the government to introduce corporate-style management to enhance accountability for its spending.

“We, business managers, always take pains to ensure that investment is made to produce results in line with corporate strategy,” he said.