Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone pledged today to work to restructure the Japanese economy and reduce international trade tensions along lines recommended by a blue-ribbon commission he appointed last year.
Nakasone officially received the commission's report this afternoon and said that he agreed with its basic points and promptly would begin government consideration to put them into effect.
"The government is going to take this as a reference point," Nakasone said.
He reportedly told reporters that he expects resistance within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to the commission's plan, which would require sacrifices from some business groups now shielded from import competition. "It is going to be tough, but we must do it," Kyodo News Service quoted him as saying.
Nakasone spoke as the Japanese government prepared to announce new steps meant to stoke domestic demand, to help increase imports and cut exports, thereby reducing Japan's controversial trade surpluses.
The report and stimulatory steps are part of a coordinated effort to deflect harsh international criticism before a three-day economic summit convenes here in May with Nakasone as host to President Reagan and leaders of five other industrialized countries.
The commission's report consists primarily of broad recommendations on how to reduce Japan's dependence on export income for economic growth over the long term. The buying power of its 120 million citizens would take over more of this role under the group's plan.
U.S. officials in Tokyo have responded favorably to the report, the contents of which have been known for some time. But they say that the real test will be the extent to which the government implements it.
The package of steps to stimulate domestic demand was devised by a cabinet panel and is set to be announced formally on Tuesday. The government is depicting the package as its initial response to the commission report.
The package contains no radical steps, but builds on ones announced earlier. Its main features are:
*A commitment for a "flexible" monetary policy. This is meant as an indication that Japan again will cut interest rates as a stimulatory step.
*Accelerated disbursement of public works money in the national government's current annual budget. The target will be to exceed the past record, set in 1982, of 77 percent in the first six months.
*Commitments to lower prices for electric power and heating and cooking gas to reflect savings realized through the fall of the price of oil and the devaluation of the dollar against the yen. The price of beef and certain other regulated farm commodities also will be cut.
*Efforts to cut other prices, including those of air tickets and international telecommunications. Retailers will be urged to cut the prices of imports. The private sector often views recommendations of this sort from the government as firm instructions.
*Further deregulation of building controls in urban areas, as a step to spur new private-sector construction, and reduction of interest rates on loans for housing construction.
*Accelerated construction of a digital communications network for Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, the national phone company, and burying power lines underground.
*New low-interest emergency loans to small- and medium-sized businesses, which are being especially hard hit by the fall of the dollar.
In addition to curtailing the foreign trade surpluses, the steps are intended to blunt an economic slowdown that many analysts feel is approaching. Much of the blame for it is put on the fall of the dollar, which is cutting into Japan's export competitiveness.