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Thursday, July 16, 1998

Keizai Doyukai demands leader who can think

BY SAYURI DAIMONStaff writer

KARUIZAWA, Nagano Pref. -- The next prime minister must be a person who can satisfy the public in Japan, abroad and within his own party, the head of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) said Thursday.

Given such basic factors, the new leader must present a policy of his own to the public and swiftly exercise his leadership in tackling Japan's mounting problems, Chairman Jiro Ushio said in his opening remarks at the Keizai Doyukai's 13th summer seminar.

"Ten years ago, an LDP leader was only decided by power politics within the party, but by the period in which the second Cabinet of former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone was launched, Japanese public support became a necessary factor in maintaining the support of party members," he said.

"And in recent years, international accountability has emerged as another important element of the prime minister," he said. Ushio's remarks reflected the views of many of the 30 business executives attending the seminar here.

But Ushio and the others avoided expressing support for a particular candidate for the LDP presidency. While many businesspeople agree that Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi is the most likely candidate to take the helm of the LDP, they seem to believe that Seiroku Kajiyama, a former chief Cabinet secretary, is a good choice given his knowledge about the financial sector and his influence with the LDP.

After learning of a media report the next LDP president is likely to be selected in a vote by party members next week, Yotaro Kobayashi, chairman of Fuji Xerox Co., said it would be better since candidates' policy differences will become clearer and the selection process more "transparent."

Commenting on the LDP's stunning defeat in the Upper House election last week, some businesspeople even welcomed the fact that the financial market has finally arrived as an influence on Japanese politics. "Politicians are in a position to provide sound market structure, but for many years politicians did not have enough interest in financial markets," said Yoshihiko Miyauchi, president of Orix Corp.



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