Japan PM says too early to end regional stimulus

BEIJING: Japan's prime minister said on Saturday he had agreed with leaders of China and South Korea that it was too early to wind back stimulus policies designed to help their countries weather the economic crisis.

Speaking at a joint press conference after a three-way summit in Beijing, Yukio Hatoyama said he and his two counterparts had agreed it was "premature to take an exit strategy" and withdraw from fiscal spending measures.

"Japan has a very severe job situation now, and I understand South Korea also has a similar condition," Hatoyama said after the summit hosted by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and also attended by South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak.

"Considering such situations, we agreed that it was premature to take an exit strategy."

His comments came amid a global debate about when nations should ease out of their stimulus policies.

China unveiled a four-trillion-yuan (580-billion-dollar) stimulus package late last year, and Japan's package includes spending of 15.4 trillion yen (150 billion dollars).

South Korea, meanwhile, announced a 28.9-trillion-won (21.3-billion-dollar) extra budget in March, complementing additional spending announced earlier.

The three leaders also called for the quick resumption of six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear drive, with Wen saying the door was open to make real progress.

They also pledged to deepen regional cooperation, and said they would work together to ensure the success of global climate talks in Copenhagen later this year and promote the development of clean energy technologies.