September 14, 2018
Tokyo- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated his willingness on Friday to pave the way for an exit from massive monetary easing within three years.
"I don't think at all that we should carry on with (monetary easing) forever. I'd like to set a path (for the exit) within my tenure," Abe said at a debate session at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo.
"When and how a decision will be made is up to Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda," Abe said.
If Abe wins next week's leadership election of the Liberal Democratic Party, he will remain at the helm of the ruling party for three more years. The party's leader is effectively assured of being prime minister because the LDP-led coalition has a parliamentary majority.
Referring to the benefits of the monetary easing, one of Abe's economic policy pillars, he said, "Salaries are finally increasing and consumption is picking up gradually."
Japan's economy is growing "very nicely," driven by solid consumption and business investment, Abe said.
On Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposal that Tokyo and Moscow conclude a World War II peace treaty by year-end without any preconditions, Abe said that Putin undeniably expressed a need for the pact.
"Bilateral summits in November and December this year will hold importance," Abe said.
Putin's proposal has been viewed as an attempt to put the two countries' longstanding territorial dispute over four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands on the back burner.
Abe reiterated Japan's position that the territorial issue needs to be resolved first before any peace treaty with Russia is concluded.
The islands, known as the Northern Territories in Japan, were seized by the former Soviet Union from Japan at the end of the war. The island ownership row has prevented Tokyo and Moscow from concluding a peace treaty to formally end their wartime hostilities. Jiji Press
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