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Treasury’s Taylor to Visit Japan

October 11, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP)_ The Bush administration on Friday praised the Japanese government for taking new steps to reform the country’s banking system and announced that Treasury Undersecretary John Taylor will conduct a fact-finding mission to the country later this month.

Glenn Hubbard, chairman of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, praised Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for taking ``serious steps toward banking reform.″

The Japanese economy, the second largest in the world, is struggling to emerge from its third and most serious recession of the past decade. The economy has been mired under the weight of billions of dollars in bad loans being carried on the books of the nation’s banks, a burden that has limited the banks’ ability to supply new loans to get the economy moving.

Hubbard in his statement said that Koizumi’s reform efforts provided ``the opportunity for powerful actions to facilitate the disposal of bad loans and alleviate public concerns about the banking sector.″

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department announced that Taylor, the administration’s top official on international economic matters, will leave for Tokyo on Oct. 20 for talks with Koizumi’s economic team.

Taylor also will meet with individuals in the private sector, including bankers, financial analysts and business leaders.

Taylor told reporters that his discussions will give him a chance to learn firsthand of the plans of Heizo Takenaka, the newly appointed overseer of Koizumi’s effort to clean up the banks’ problem loans.

Taylor said the Bush administration has been stressing the need for Japan to deal with the bad loans and ``welcome the initiatives″ Takenaka has been discussing.

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