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 Home > News & Policies > November 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 14, 2002

U.S. - Japan Economy Meetings Held

Senior economic officials from the United States and Japan met with U.S. and Japanese business leaders in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, November 14 to discuss key issues affecting the economies of the two countries, including disposal of non-performing loans, improving the regulatory and investment environment for business, and promoting entrepreneurship.

The Governments used the opportunity to describe in detail the actions they are taking to address reform recommendations made by the private sector during the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Japan Private Sector/Government Commission in Japan in May 2002.

Today's meeting was co-chaired by Deputy National Security Advisor Gary Edson and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Ichiro Fujisaki for the Governments. Goldman Sachs President and Co-COO John Thain and Toshiba Chairman Taizo Nishimuro co-chaired for the private sector.

"By bringing the practical experience of the private sector on both sides to the table, the Commission is a unique, innovative structure for addressing real economic problems in the U.S. and Japan," said Deputy NSA Edson.

The Japanese Government delegation briefed the Commission on Prime Minister Koizumi's new reform plan, explaining that it would address fundamental structural problems in the Japanese economy. According to Goldman Sachs President Thain, the business leaders from both sides supported the Government's plan for financial revitalization and "urged the Government of Japan to take decisive action to dispose of non-performing loans, in order to put the Japanese economy on a sound footing for long-term growth." The U.S. Government delegation strongly supported early and effective implementation of the new plan to reinvigorate the Japanese economy.

The meeting addressed a range of other issues raised by the business leaders at the May event, including:

  • steps to enhance foreign direct investment in Japan, such as permitting the full range of mergers and acquisitions techniques;
  • comprehensive structural and regulatory reform in such sectors as information technologies, health care, and energy to support long-run Japanese growth; and
  • efforts to enhance the environment for entrepreneurship and venture capital in Japan.

The Commission agreed to the importance of continuing its work and aims to convene another meeting next spring. The two Governments also endorsed next year's Commission topic, "Successfully Meeting Economic Challenges in the 21st Century." The Governments thanked the private sector participants for their contribution to a successful and productive first round of the Commission's work.

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