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TOKYO, June 4 Finance Minister Naoto Kan, a
fiscal conservative with an image as a challenger to the status
quo, was elected as Japan's next premier on Friday, improving the
ruling party's chances in a national election and raising hopes
of bolder steps to fix tattered finances.
Following are key quotes from Kan's first news conference as
"Up until now, I have commented on (the sales tax) in my
capacity as finance minister ... and also based on my personal
"But going forward, now that I am the party leader and will
be prime minister once sworn in, I want to set a direction on
this issue, including how to phrase our stance, after forming the
new cabinet and naming the top party posts."
"I would like to show the way to achieve economic growth,
fiscal reconstruction and reliable social security at the same
"In the 1960s, public spending boosted productivity. But from
the 1980s on, they built an airport in every prefecture but
failed to create a hub airport in Japan, making (South Korea's)
Incheon the hub airport (for Japan). There has been so much
misuse of public money.
"The Koizumi government took deflationary policies when there
was a shortage of demand ...
"They said the economy would be reborn if companies carried
out restructuring ... But in reality, there were job losses. They
took deflationary policies when the economy was in deflation,
only to make it last longer like this.
"We'll avoid these mistakes. We will try to increase demand
"Our fiscal spending will focus on boosting demand and
creating jobs ... This will lead to overcoming deflation and to
"Of course there's the question of whether to finance it by
tax or debt.
"The crisis in Greece happened because financial markets lost
"But if we don't make mistakes in making fiscal spending
effective and sustainable, the Japanese economy can grow more.
"I have agreed (with People's New Party leader Shizuka Kamei)
that we will enact the postal bill by the end of the current
session of parliament. I want to do my best for this agreement."
TIES WITH ASIA
"Asia is the region leading global growth ... We can have
relations with China, India, Vietnam and other developing
countries in which we complement each other in technology and
economic structuring ...
"In China now, big projects are going to European
"Why? There was an expression during (former prime minister
Junichiro) Koizumi's cabinet of Japan-China relations that
economic ties were hot but political ties were cold.
"But in reality, economic ties cannot be hot when political
ties are cold."
"In making the budget for this fiscal year, we had a lot of
constraints, such as limited time after the general election, the
economic downturn after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and
falling tax revenue.
"The budget for the next fiscal year will be our first real
step to rectify policy mistakes of the past 20 years.
UPPER HOUSE ELECTION
"What I want to tell voters in the upper house election is
that our reforms are becoming more concrete.
"The hopes voters had for the Democratic Party are not just
ending up as a mere dream. They will be realised. That's what I
want people to know for the election.
"The Japan-U.S. agreement is an agreement between governments
or between countries, and that is an agreement formed under the
Hatoyama government. It is our responsibility to take special
notice of that agreement.
"We need to tackle the issue while keeping in mind that
lessening burden on Okinawa is an important part of the
(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano, Kiyoshi Takenaka and Chisa Fujioka)