A group of leading Japanese businessmen yesterday called on the Nakasone administration and their own colleagues in the Japanese private sector to accelerate efforts to expand domestic demand and to increase imports in order to help cut the nation's "large and growing" trade surplus with the United States.
They added that it has become the obligation of Japanese industry, as one way of easing tensions, to establish more production plants in this country and in other overseas locations to contribute to the creation of jobs outside of Japan.
The statement, by the Keizai Doyukai, was coordinated with one by the American Committee for Economic Development (CED). Together, the statements urged the governments of the two countries to take steps to counter a deterioration in their relationship.
Keizai Doyukai's statement was significant because the organization is composed not of companies or trade associations, but of individual Japanese business leaders, some of whom are among the most influential in Japan. Its chairman is Takashi Ishihara, chairman of the Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.
The Japanese businessmen, acknowledging the "sense of impatience" in the United States over the Japan-U.S. trade imbalance, warned that protectionist responses could cause "an irreversible setback" between two partners, which have vital political and national security relationships.
They recommended a five-part program to be undertaken by Japan:
*Expansion of domestic demand. This would be done "primarily through urban renewal and housing construction, with an appropriate incentives program to stimulate the vitality of private enterprise by such measures as tax reform and deregulation."
*Further efforts to internationalize the yen and deregulate financial and capital markets.
*Increased imports of both raw materials and finished goods from the developing nations as part of Japan's obligations to "a balanced world economy," along with implementation of an already-announced commitment to double Japan's official aid to Third World countries.
*Acceleration of the effective dates of the July 30 "action program" on improved market access, as requested by the United States.
*Greater efforts by the private sector to increase imports. "Japanese industry must also increase direct investment and local production overseas, and as a consequence, contribute to the expansion of employment in other countries, including the Unites States," Keizai Doyukai said.
The Keizai Doyukai's prescription for the United States, in addition to its high priority of reducing the high value of the dollar by slashing the budget deficit, called for improvement of productivity and of product quality.
The CED, which has worked closely with Keizai Doyukai since 1960, is, like its Japanese counterpart, a nonprofit research organization. It is composed of 225 U.S. corporate and academic executives.
Together, the two groups called on the American government to cut its huge budget deficit, and on Japan to move toward a more expansive policy. Coordination of economic policy should lead to a dampening of the outflow of capital from Japan, and strengthen the yen, they said.
The CED also called on Japan to do better on the question of increasing its imports, citing the tendency of both government and private companies to buy goods only from "preferred" Japanese firms.