U.S. wants Japan to spend more
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Steve Chiotakis: At the White House today, President Obama hosts the Prime Minister of Japan. The U.S. and Japan are the two biggest economies in the world. And both are pretty challenged right now, looking for ways to dig out of this economic fallout together. From Shanghai, here’s Marketplace’s Scott Tong.
Scott Tong: Prime Minister Taro Aso comes bearing checks. Half a billion dollars for Afghanistan’s reconstruction; $100 billion for the IMF and new aid for Pakistan, to be announced today.
Japan’s stored up a big rainy day fund; historically its people are good savers. But now, Washington wants the Japanese to spend more, so the world’s producers have someone to sell to.
Macquarie Securities Bill Belchere American consumers used to carry the load. Now, the Asians need to pick up some slack.
Bill Belchere: I think the timing is right that Asia is becoming rich enough. It’s young enough, its people want lots of things that people all over the world aspire to: better homes, better education, better food.
Boosting consumption takes time; which Aso has none of. An 11 percent approval rating back home makes him the lamest of ducks. So whatever Aso promises in D.C., his successor will have to carry out.
In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.
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