The United States wants to expand U.S. investors’ presence in Japan’s education and medical services markets, a U.S. State Department official said Friday.

Larry Greenwood, deputy assistant secretary of state in charge of international finance and development, made the remark during a briefing to a group of Japanese reporters.

Citing the need for Japan to receive more foreign investment to help spur growth, he said Washington wants Tokyo to ease the rules and regulations that govern American universities’ ability to operate in Japan.

An increase in the number of American university branch campuses here would benefit Japanese who cannot afford to study abroad or who cannot do so for family reasons, he said.

This would also allow Japan to bring together students from neighboring countries and stimulate its educational sector as a whole, he said, adding that “Japan has an interesting possibility of becoming a regional education hub.”

As for medical services, Greenwood said Tokyo should expand opportunities for participation to include private firms and lift the ban on mixed medical services by allowing treatment to include both services that are covered by public health insurance and those not covered by it.

Asked about Japan’s reaction to the U.S. request on the medical services issue, he said, “The company side is positive. Doctors are a lot more cautious.”

Regarding Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s 2003 goal of doubling foreign direct investment in Japan by 2008, Greenwood said, “It looks on track, but we cannot be complacent.”

He also voiced hope that Japanese corporate managers will not fret over a possible rise in “hostile” takeover bids for Japanese firms by U.S. companies, saying, “Their concerns are overly exaggerated . . . that energy is misplaced.”

Greenwood was visiting Tokyo to attend bilateral investment talks.

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