New leader of Japan plans aid to Soviets

October 28, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

TOKYO -- Veteran politician Kiichi Miyazawa was confirmed yesterday as prime minister-designate and declared that Japanese "must prepare ourselves" to provide large-scale, long-term financial aid to the Soviet Union.

Speaking at a nationally televised news conference, Mr. Miyazawa also said he would:

* Make concessions on Japan's closed rice market to match any made by the United States and Europe and avoid "destroying" the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations.

* Push enactment of a bill to institutionalize -- for the first time since World War II -- sending noncombat military forces overseas to participate in disaster relief and U.N. peacekeeping activities.

* Have Japan pay part of the estimated $1 billion cost of a United Nations operation to end hostilities and oversee the installation of a new government in Cambodia.

Mr. Miyazawa spoke after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party elected him party president, a post that ensures him the premiership. Parliament will be convened Nov. 5 to elect him prime minister, succeeding Toshiki Kaifu.

Mr. Miyazawa, 72, is a veteran of 49 years in government and politics who has served as Japan's top official in finance, foreign affairs, international trade and industry, and economic planning. He won 285 votes, or 57 percent of the total in the party election.

In his news conference, Mr. Miyazawa supported extending large-scale, long-term loans to the Soviet Union but said that the Soviet Union must first draw up a blueprint for reform and reveal basic economic data. Such aid, which would be given as part of a joint effort by the Group of Seven advanced industrial democracies, would go beyond a $2.5 billion pledge Japan made earlier this month for humanitarian and technical assistance, he said.

Return of four northern islands that the Soviet Union seized from Japan after World War II -- a condition Japan has set for the signing of a peace treaty -- also will be facilitated by Japan's making clear to the Soviet islanders that their "lives will get better" with reversion to Japan, he said.

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