• Kyodo

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Economic minister Heizo Takenaka and U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow agreed Thursday that their economies are heading in a positive direction.

Commenting on the Japanese economy, Snow told Takenaka that structural reforms of the nation’s financial system will be the cornerstone.

Takenaka, who doubles as financial services minister, also met with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan later in the morning.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting with Snow, Takenaka said he briefed the Treasury secretary on the state of the Japanese economy and told him “signs of change” for the better have been seen, citing accelerated efforts to reduce the bad loans at Japanese banks and improved earnings at Japanese corporations.

Takenaka also met Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and said later that their talks focused on deflation.

With growing deflation fears in the United States, Takenaka said Mankiw asked for a briefing on Japan’s experience. He said he told Mankiw that Japan needed to boost the money supply, but that the reasons for deflation may differ in each country.