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Wednesday, 14th September 2011
In General Japan News,

New PM promises to restore hope to nation

Japan's new prime minister has promised to restore hope and pride to the nation which was devastated by the twin tragedy of March 11th earlier this year.

Making his first major speech of the Diet in Tokyo, Yoshihiko Noda vowed to rebuild the country's struggling economy and raise it back to its former glory.

He said: "While overcoming the twin crises of the 'Great East Japan Earthquake' and the global economic crisis, we must invest in this country's future so people are filled with hope and each and every citizen can be proud and feel, 'I am glad I was born in this country'."

The 54-year-old called for all parties to pull together and cooperate in producing a plan for a necessary reconstruction funding bill.

He hopes the act can pass through parliament with few objections from the opposing party.

The former finance minister also made reference to "three tough paths" that would see a reduction in spending and an increase in revenue.

"Japan's credibility is on the verge of being severely damaged due to industry hollowing out and deteriorating fiscal conditions," Noda said.

The nation's public debt is twice its $5 trillion economy and the prime minister maintained it was imperative the problem was combated sooner rather than later.

He said: "We cannot carry on forever with a kind of fiscal management where debt keeps piling up in a snowball effect."

Debt is expected to grow as the population of the country continues to decline, alongside an aging population in need of support from the state.

Moreover, the yen's recent climb in value has also threatened to derail Japan's economy which relies heavily on exports.

Mr Noda said: "The yen's historic rise, coupled with catch-ups by emerging nations, has caused a crisis of unprecedented industrial hollowing-out."

However, spirits in the country have not been entirely deflated.

A survey conducted by Yomiuri Shimbun showed that most people in Japan were pleased with the army's response to the tsunami, suggesting the nation is content with its strategies to battle natural disasters.

Posted by Graham McPherson