TOKYO (AP) _ A government panel today instructed Japan’s bureaucracy to prepare measures by the end of the month to stimulate demand for foreign goods in order to reduce trade surpluses, an official said.
The Japanese have expressed concern that Congress will pass protectionist legislation this month aimed at curbing Japanese exports to the United States.
The panel, headed by Ippei Kaneko, head of the Economic Planning Agency, met a day after Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone told agency officials to work out emergency measures to increase activity in the areas of housing, corporate investment and personal spending.
An Economic Planning Agency official, who spoke on condition he not be identified, said the panel gave instructions to related ministries to draw up plans by Sept. 30 to give a quick lift to domestic demand.
Nakasone is also planning a trip to the United States in the fall to attend the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, and reportedly wants to be able to show Japan is working to trim trade surpluses.
U.S. economists and trade officials have often urged Japan to stimulate domestic demand as a means of reducing the economy’s dependence on exports.
In July the government announced a package of measures to reduce tariffs and simplify import procedures over an extended period, but Japan’s trading partners complained they would have little short-term effect on trade imbalances.
Japan’s current trade surplus with the United States and other foreign trading partners reached a record $5.55 billion for the month of June, and was almost $5 billion in July. It was a record $35 billion in 1984.
The panel, formed by Nakasone earlier this summer to promote expansion of the domestic economy, also reconfirmed an end-of-month deadline on proposals for mid-term economic expansion.
They include reducing the work week from six days to five days for financial institutions and public employees, relaxing restrictions on land and other financial transactions and stepping up construction projects.