Japan's Aso stresses need to prop economy

Sept. 29, 2008 at 7:40 AM
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TOKYO, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Japan's new Prime Minister Taro Aso, in his first policy speech in parliament Monday, stressed the immediate need to prop up the economy.

Aso, who took over last week from Yasuo Fukuda who quit after a year in office, told lawmakers his plan to take a three-step approach to economic issues.

The steps would include lifting the economy in the short term, reconstructing finances in the medium term and economic growth through reform in the long term.

"There will not be fiscal reconstruction without economic development," Aso said, Kyodo news service reported.

The prime minister assured his government will stock to the goal of achieving a budget surplus by fiscal 2011.

Aso urged the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan to have constructive debates with his government on the $17 billion supplementary budget, which his Cabinet approved Monday and Japan's anti-terrorism refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

The supplementary budget is part of a $110 billion emergency policy package to ease the impact on the economy from sharply higher energy and raw material costs.

Aso is expected to soon dissolve parliament and call elections to strengthen the position of his Liberal Democratic Party.

Aso stressed the need to strengthen Japan's alliance with the United States and build regional stability with Asian and Pacific nations.

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