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Incoming Japan Premier to Visit U.S. in January

November 01, 1987|SAM JAMESON | Times Staff Writer

TOKYO — Prime Minister-designate Noboru Takeshita, officially elected Saturday as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, filled three top party posts and disclosed that he plans to visit Washington in January.

Takeshita appointed Shintaro Abe, one of his two defeated rivals for the party presidency, to succeed him as secretary general, the party's No. 2 position.

For two other key party posts, he picked a follower of Kiichi Miyazawa, the other unsuccessful rival for party president, and a supporter of outgoing Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.

Ensures Party Unity

Thus, with his own faction the largest in the party, Takeshita made appointments that brought into top policy-making positions all four of the party's biggest sectors, a move viewed as ensuring party unity.

Takeshita said he will name his Cabinet as soon as Parliament, in a special session, elects him prime minister Friday.

In a later news conference, Takeshita said that when he visits Washington he expects to take up "monetary problems," issues involving adjustment of Japan's economic structure to one less dependent upon exports for growth, and the omnibus trade bill being debated in Congress.

He said that a visit in January will enable him to explain to American leaders how Japan's 1988 budget will promote economic growth at home, one of Washington's chief hopes for the new administration here. The budget is to be formulated by late December.

Noting that President Reagan had telephoned him to invite him to visit the United States as soon as possible, Takeshita said his Washington trip will "not be an official one with banquets but rather a business visit, with working lunches or dinners."

He pledged to continue making efforts to open Japan's markets.

"Japan is the nation which has benefited the most from free trade. The people must be made to understand this. I expect to ask the people to undergo a transformation of their consciousness" toward foreign goods, he said.

Takeshita said he would visit Canada, the host of next year's seven-nation economic summit, either before or after visiting Washington.

His first overseas trip will come in December, when he will travel to Manila to meet leaders of the six-nation Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations at their annual summit, Takeshita said. A trip to China also "is on my mind" sometime next year in connection with the 10th anniversary of a treaty of friendship the two nations ratified in 1978, he added.

In the party convention, which rubber-stamped Nakasone's selection of Takeshita as his successor for a two-year term, the new party leader said he would place top priority on settling U.S.-Japan economic disputes, carrying out a basic reform of Japan's tax system to produce more revenue from indirect taxation, and tackling soaring land prices.

"I want to establish politics which give free play to the people's wisdom and vitality and devote all of my efforts to the creation of a society which can feel the true meaning of prosperity as well as make contributions to the world and to the advancement of humanity," he told the party members.

Named as the party's Policy Board chairman was Michio Watanabe, a Nakasone follower who has served both as finance minister and minister of international trade and industry. Masayoshi Ito, the outgoing policy chief and a follower of Miyazawa, was named Executive Board chairman, replacing Abe.

Takeshita also announced that he will name Miyazawa deputy prime minister and, although Takeshita refused to confirm it, Miyazawa was expected to retain his present post as finance minister.

Takeshita also disclosed that he plans to establish a Peace Strategy Research Institute, probably as a private organization, and indicated that he would name Nakasone to head it. The self-described "consensus-leader" whose only experience in diplomacy came through serving twice as finance minister said he plans to call upon Nakasone for advice on foreign policy.

Being head of the new research institute, combined with the expected appointment of Nakasone follower Susuke Uno as foreign minister, is expected to give Nakasone a major voice in formulating foreign policy under Takeshita.

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