Recognizing the weight of its own role in Asia's economic development, Japan must lead the region in the pace of structural change. This is essential to lay the groundwork for national economic renewal. As Japanese companies strive to improve their financial and other basic business strengths, they must also enhance transparency, bolster corporate governance systems and meet the strict norms of accountability. They can share their experiences in corporate reform with their counterparts in other Asian countries.
Japan supports promotion of trade and investment liberalization in ways that are suitable to the realities of Asia. For this purpose, Japan will help launch a dialogue with other countries of the region in an effort to get a new, comprehensive round of WTO negotiations started at an early date. The Asean countries should be encouraged to bring the AFTA plan to fruition. In the meantime, Japan will go ahead with exploring possible free trade agreements with the Republic of Korea and Singapore.
The countries of Asia, including Japan, must continue to work toward developing more sound financial systems and stabilizing exchange rates. Japan can offer increased public and private-level assistance to help human resources development and technology transfer to the region's financial industry. In connection with regional cooperation for financial and currency stability, the Manila Framework accord needs to be strengthened regarding surveillance over short-term capital movements. Japan must develop a public-private sector consensus to promote a wider international use of the yen. It is hoped that Asian governments and businesses will make more use of the yen as an international currency.
Japanese businesses can help improve industrial competitiveness in the Asian region by expanding their locally based operations provided the private debt problem is first resolved. In continuing assistance to the region's infrastructure development, Japan should put the emphasis on the so-called next-generation projects. Especially important is the efficient implementation of private-sector projects that produce more significant ripple effects on the host country's economy. In the field of human resources development in Asia, Japan needs to accelerate cooperation through securing greater participation by private businesses.