• Staff report


Visiting German President Horst Kohler said Monday that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s structural reform efforts would boost Japan’s competitiveness in the global arena.

Kohler told the Japan National Press Club that Koizumi’s strong resolve to carry out structural reforms, including the disposal of nonperforming loans, seems to be bearing fruit in the finance sector. Germany has much to learn from Japan, he said.

Kohler said 42 percent of Japan’s labor force works part time. In Germany the number is about 25 percent of this number, he said.

“Flexibility of the labor market is one of the main reasons Japan succeeded in economic reform,” Kohler said through an interpreter.

Kohler is in Japan to attend Monday’s opening ceremony of the “German Year in Japan 2005/2006” in Tokyo.

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