TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday voiced his readiness to have the central bank take additional monetary easing steps to protect jobs, if he were to become prime minister.
He also said there were “too many regional banks” in Japan, suggesting that he would prod them to consolidate if were to win a ruling party leadership race on Sept. 14, which would almost certainly result in him becoming prime minister.
“We’ll look at developments and if it’s necessary to protect jobs, I’d like to promote further monetary policy (steps) because the economy is at a critical juncture,” Suga told a news conference after announcing his decision to run for leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
The leader of the party is almost bound to become prime minister because of its majority in parliament.
On economic policy, Suga said he would “maintain and push forward” the “Abenomics” stimulus policies pursued by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aimed at pulling Japan out of deflation.
“Even when the economy is in such a severe state, we were able to create more jobs, the yen is stable around 105 (to the dollar) and the (Nikkei) stock average is around 20,000,” he said.
Abe announced last Friday he was stepping down because of poor health.
(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Gallagher, Robert Birsel)