• Kyodo News

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Prime Minister Taro Aso on Saturday said stockbrokers have “shady” reputations in rural areas and “are not trusted,” casting securities companies and their employees in a negative light at a time when he is trying to boost the stock market.

Gaffe-prone Aso, whose popularity has plummeted to critically low levels due partly to his frequent slips of the tongue, made the comments to a panel assembled at the prime minister’s office for talks on boosting the stock market.

“What’s important is how to encourage long-term possession of stocks, and how we can impact the flow of individual assets,” said Matsui Securities Co. President Michio Matsui, one of the participants in the discussions.

Aso referred to traders, brokers and others who work in the financial markets by the term “kabuya,” which has derogatory undertones. He said kabuya “are not trusted.”

Since taking office last September, Aso has angered various segments of the public with a steady string of derogatory remarks. He has accused doctors of lacking common sense and demeaned elderly people for not looking after their health.

The panel of financial experts was put together to explore fresh ideas for riding out the recession.

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