TOKYO — Outgoing Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone said in a farewell news conference today that he has tried to eradicate the international image of Japan as an economic creature intent on exports alone.
"In the past five years I tried to erase two dishonorable phrases labeled on Japan--an unfair country and an economic animal," he said.
Nakasone, 69, steps down on Friday after five years in office.
Nakasone said he hoped Noboru Takeshita, handpicked by him as his replacement, would "tread a centrist and stable diplomatic path and continue domestic reforms."
"Japan must become a country to be respected and take an honorable position in international society," Nakasone said.
"Japan should coordinate nationalism and internationalism. We should keep it in mind that Japan's neighboring countries with scars of World War II (will) not be able to wipe out suspicions against Japan for some 100 years."