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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hosokawa: Surplus-Cutting Plan Soon

TOKYO -- Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa and key members of his Cabinet agreed Friday to try to draw up by the end of March plans to cut Japan's chronic trade surplus -- and perhaps smooth tensions with the United States.

But the top economic planners said Friday's meeting did not produce a consensus on what steps the government should take to open Japanese markets to more imports.

Later, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale was skeptical about the current round of surplus-cutting efforts by Japan and said he was willing to wait to see what Japan decides.

In the meantime, he dismissed a step suggested by some ministers : that Japan might pledge efforts to reduce its current-account surplus during the coming year to 2.8 percent of gross domestic product from more than 3 percent last year. Mondal said such an achievement would mean very little.