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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 06:24 GMT
Japan's desperate market move
Heizo Takenaka
Mr Takenaka plans to make money
The country's economy minister has called on his cabinet colleagues, including the Prime Minister, to start buying shares in a desperate bid to prop up the Japanese stock market,

Heizo Takenaka said he would invest in tracker funds and "will definitely make money".

"I want us to take the lead," he said.

Japan's economy has been lingering near recession and the Tokyo Stock Exchange's Nikkei index of leading shares has been at near 19-year lows since last year.

Mr Takenaka expects Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to follow his lead.

But Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Mr Koizumi did not say whether he agreed with the policy at Friday's cabinet meeting.

Buy now

"The time to buy is now," claimed Mr Fukuda.

"I may have to buy something, but I want everyone to buy," he added.

The news did little to prop up the Japanese market, which fell slightly on Friday to 8,455.4.

Mr Takenaka wants the ministers to buy exchange-traded funds (ETFs), investment trusts linked to stock market indices.

"In order to encourage individual investors to buy stocks, it is important that policy leaders buy stocks too," Mr Takenaka said.

Japan's economy staged a weak export driven recovery last year but falling demand from the US and fears of a possible war in Iraq have dampened the mood.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Bartlett
"The Japanese have watched with dismay as their stockmarket's crumbled in value"

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18 Dec 02 | Business
31 Oct 02 | Business
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