Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi went on the defensive Wednesday, denying charges that his administration has been slow to bring about promised economic reforms.

"My critics say I did nothing; I simply did not do anything that was not necessary," Koizumi said in his opening address at a government conference on economic policy, held at his official residence.

He said the government should inspire the public to innovate and take risks, and help them back onto their feet if they fail.