U.S. calls on Japan to use foreign funds to solve bad loans.
The United States called on Japan to use foreign investment to resolve the problem of nonperforming loans and assets in a second round of high-level talks, participants said Thursday.
In the day's subcabinet-level bilateral meeting in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture, just east of Tokyo, the U.S. team led by Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs Alan Larson again urged Japan to revise laws to facilitate foreign companies' mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in Japan.
''We talked about the contribution foreign investment and foreign management could play'' in accelerating Japan's efforts to clear distressed assets, a U.S. officials said.
The Japanese delegation at the so-called Economic Dialogue was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Shotaro Oshima. The dialogue is the highest meeting under the bilateral economic framework the two countries launched last year.
The U.S. side referred to the meeting Wednesday in Tokyo of the Investment Initiative, one of four panels under the framework, where it specifically urged Japan to allow foreign companies to take advantage of Japan's equity-swap system enabling cashless, tax-free M&As, and Japan agreed to study the issue.
Regarding the Japanese economy, however, the U.S. delegation did not give specific recommendations to Japan to foster some positive signs recently seen in the sluggish economy, according to the participants.
''I think the challenge that one might see right now is whether the measures that have been pursued have the impact of moving expectations (of businesses and consumers) in (a) positive direction'' to spur spending, the U.S. official said.
But the U.S. side reiterated its hope to see a revival of the Japanese economy, the official said.
''We think it's important for both the United State and Japan that a strong economy not only work for the benefit of our own people but also so that we can each play the role that we need to play in the region and in the world,'' he said.
The two countries agreed, meanwhile, to jointly push for setting up a transportation security system with other members of the Group of Eight major nations -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Russia -- as part of antiterrorism measures.
The framework created by the U.S.-Japan Economic Partnership for Growth was agreed upon by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President George W. Bush at their first summit in June last year. The subcabinet-level talks are intended to be informal meetings held at least once a year.
It follows the Japan-U.S. Structural Impediments Initiative held under the administration of former President George Bush and the Japan-U.S. Framework for New Economic Partnership under former President Bill Clinton.
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|Publication:||Japan Weekly Monitor|
|Date:||May 13, 2002|
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