Japanese Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita says his country is determined to play a more active global leadership role equal with its economic superpower status.
In his first visit to America's industrial heartland Wednesday, Takeshita also defended his country's burgeoning investments in the United States, saying they have created jobs.Acknowledging that some Americans view Japan's investments in the United States as a threat, Takeshita said they have created more than 200,000 jobs and would help improve the U.S. trade balance.
Takeshita visited Chicago one day after the close of the economic summit of the leaders of seven major industrialized countries in Toronto, Canada.
The prime minister said he hoped his visit to "the hub of America's heartland" would contribute "to broader and deeper Japan-U.S. relations."
Speaking at a dinner hosted by the Japan-America Society of Chicago, Takeshita quipped that he hoped a fireworks display scheduled afterward over Lake Michigan would "shake the sky above and help bring . . . some rain" to the drought-stricken region.
Takeshita echoed the same themes he sounded at the summit, at which Japan offered a plan for Third World debt relief and signaled its willingness to accept the international leadership role that goes with its economic power.
Takeshita said Japan's official development assistance, announced at the Toronto summit, would total $50 billion for fiscal years 1988-92, more than double the sum for the previous five years.