• Kyodo


Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will vow at the Monday start of the Diet session to take measures to avoid sending the languishing economy into a full-on free fall, according to his aides.

As the government has downgraded its basic assessment of the economy for three months straight, Noda may promise in a speech to the legislature to front-load certain measures proposed under a strategy compiled in July to accelerate growth in sectors such as the environment and agriculture, the sources said.

Last week, Noda instructed his Cabinet to cobble together fresh stimulus measures by the end of next month to jump-start Japan’s export-reliant economy.

At the start of the Diet session that convenes Monday, Noda is also expected to ask for the opposition’s cooperation in passing a bill to allow the government to issue deficit-covering bonds to finance the fiscal 2012 budget.

Swift passage of the legislation is considered essential since the Finance Ministry has warned that unless the bill is enacted, the government will run short of funds by late November.

Noda will also vow to scrutinize how the disaster reconstruction budget is being spent amid criticism it is being used for other purposes, such as the promotion of youth exchanges with Asian nations and the U.S.

With diplomatic tensions escalating with China and South Korea over territorial disputes, Noda plans to express his intention to protect Japanese territory by stressing the primacy of the international rule of law, according to the aides, although he is unlikely to single out the two countries.

On trade policy, Noda is expected to pledge to pursue higher-level economic partnerships with other nations, and could propose promoting talks toward Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade dialogue “on the premise that national interests will be secured.”

Noda is also expected to promise to move forward other initiatives, including a trilateral free-trade pact involving Japan, China and South Korea.

He planned to further consider the details of the policy speech at the extraordinary Cabinet meeting Thursday before drawing up a final version, the aides said.

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