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Japan Must Reshape Economy to Match World's--Nakasone

July 06, 1987|Associated Press

TOKYO — Yasuhiro Nakasone delivered what is likely to be his final parliamentary address as prime minister today, telling legislators that Japan's economy must be restructured if it is to develop in harmony with the world's.

In a 30-minute speech to an added session of the Diet, Japan's Parliament, Nakasone reviewed the aims of his five-year administration, laying emphasis on economic and tax system reforms and Japan's growing international role.

The address by the 69-year-old premier, who is to step down Oct. 30, was taken as a message to would-be successors on the policies they must favor to win his backing.

Since choosing a party president involves brokering among the handful of rival intra-party factions, the candidates are aggressively seeking the backing of Nakasone's own faction to win. But so far the prime minister has not publicly chosen a successor.

In his speech, Nakasone acknowledged that restructuring Japan's economy to ease its huge trade surpluses and spur domestic growth will bring "friction and pain." The jobless rate in May hit 3.2%, a record for Japan, and the soaring strength of the Japanese yen has hurt exports and cut profits, production and investment.

Describing administration efforts to boost foreign access to Japanese markets and shift emphasis from industrial production, Nakasone called economic restructuring "an important issue and one that must be actively promoted if the Japanese economy is to develop in harmony with the world economy."

"Japan can only survive through free trade, there can be no prosperity for Japan except in global prosperity, and Japanese growth is contingent upon the revitalization of the world economy," he said.

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