• Kyodo

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The state-backed Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan is expected to choose by Sept. 20 the first set of Japanese companies it will bail out, Sadakazu Tanigaki, minister in charge of industrial revitalization, said Tuesday.

“We’d like to deliver our first newborn before the presidential election” of the Liberal Democratic Party on Sept. 20, Tanigaki told a news conference here.

The IRCJ started operating in May, tasked with rehabilitating heavily indebted companies deemed salvageable. It is believed to be in the final stages of picking its first clients.

Tanigaki acknowledged that the IRCJ is taking more time than expected to choose its first clients. But “we are beginning to see the first signs of labor,” he said, expanding on the birth analogy.

Earlier in the day, Tanigaki met U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow and discussed the state of the Japanese and U.S. economies.

According to Tanigaki, Snow said that the Japanese economy is showing signs of coming back to life but that Japan needs to build on this progress.

Snow said the U.S. economy still faces problems but is beginning to move in a positive direction, according to Tanigaki. The two also discussed the work of the IRCJ.

On Monday, Tanigaki said Gregory Mankiw, who serves as the top economic adviser to President George W. Bush, told him in a meeting the same day that he expects the IRCJ to pick companies shortly.