"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
"The time to buy is now," claimed Mr
"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
"In order to encourage individual investors to
buy stocks, it is important that policy leaders buy stocks too," Mr
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.
NOBEL WINNERS SLAM BUSH ECONOMICS
Ten Nobel prize winning economists have attacked
President George W Bush's tax cutting policies which he hopes will
revive the US economy.
Mr Bush sent his budget to Congress which also
includes a big increase in military spending and record budget deficits
last achieved by his father more than 10 years ago.
"Regardless of how one views the specifics of
the Bush plan, there is wide agreement that its purpose is a permanent
change in the tax structure and not the creation of jobs and growth in
the near term," the economists said in a statement published by the
Economic Policy Institute.
Nobel economic laureates Joseph Stiglitz, Franco
Modigliani and Lawrence Klein reserved much of their scorn for the
proposal to cut the tax on share dividend payouts.
"The permanent dividend tax cut, in particular,
is not credible as a short-term stimulus," the statement said.
"Moreover, the proposed tax cuts will generate
further inequalities in after-tax income," it said.
The statement, which has been signed by almost 400
economists, will be formally released at a news conference by the
"Overcapacity, corporate scandals and
uncertainty have and will continue to weigh down the economy," they
The economists offered an alternative economic plan.
"To be effective, a stimulus plan should rely on
immediate but temporary spending and tax measures to expand demand and
it should also rely on immediate but temporary incentives for
investment," they said.
The seven other Nobel winners who signed the
statement were George Akerlof, Kenneth Arrow, Daniel McFadden, Paul
Samuelson, Robert Solow, Douglass North and William Sharpe.
POOR COUNTRIES RAISE WEAPONS BUDGETS
A report by the US State Department says developing
countries are spending a record amount of money on weapons.
The study looks at military spending worldwide at the
end of the 1990s, and reveals an 18% increase in expenditure by
developing countries over the previous decade.
The State Department study reveals a baffling array
of figures on defence spending around the world, but some interesting
trends emerge from the statistical fog.
The end of the Cold War led to a collapse in military
investment in Eastern Europe.
SURPRISE CUT IN UK INTEREST RATES
City analysts by cutting interest rates by one
quarter of a percentage point.
After 14 months on hold, rates have been cut to
3.75%, taking borrowing costs to their lowest level since 1955.
The move surprised City analysts, who had thought
that the Bank would maintain rates at 4% to keep a lid on the housing
market and general inflation.
House prices last month were 24.9% higher than in
January 2002, Halifax, the UK's biggest mortgage lender, said last week.
ANGER OVER FEDERAL EU PLAN
British politicians say draft plans for the future
European Union being run "on a federal basis" are
The president of the convention on the future of
Europe, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, unveiled the constitution's first 15
draft articles last week.
But the UK Government has raised concerns about the
use of the word "federal" and suggestions that the EU should
have sweeping economic and foreign policy making powers.
Welsh Secretary Peter Hain, who also handles some
European negotiations, said the draft was contrary to the wishes not
just of the UK but of most EU governments.
"This does not reflect the consensus of people
on the convention," he said.
"A lot of representatives are wondering whether
the people who drew up this document have been going to a different
BUSH TO DETAIL OIL POLICY
US President George W Bush is set to give details of
his administration's energy policy in a speech.
The President has been criticised for refusing to
sign up to the Kyoto Treaty and instead relying on voluntary measures to
reduce global warming.
The central plank of the President's energy policy is
likely to be an attempt to make America less dependent on foreign oil
As such, he is set to push once again for oil
companies to be given permission to begin drilling in the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
The President's recent budget proposal foresees over
$2bn in revenue from the refuge by 2005, despite widespread opposition
to the plan.
US SHRUGS OFF N KOREA THREAT
The United States has shrugged off a threat from
North Korea that any decision to send more troops to the region might
prompt it to make a pre-emptive attack.
"Obviously the United States is prepared [with]
robust plans for any contingencies," White House spokesman Ari
Fleischer said in a briefing last week.
"But this type of talk and the type of actions
North Korea has engaged in - or says it is engaging in - only hurt North
DIAMOND MARKET FACES TOUGH YEAR
Gem giant De Beers has forecast a difficult year for
diamond sales, as economic and political uncertainties weigh on big
De Beers, which supplies 60% of the world's diamonds,
said that sales of diamond jewellery held up "reasonably well"
in 2002, despite a fall in global consumer optimism.
BANANA GROWERS FEAR SAFEWAY BATTLE
Caribbean banana growers have warned the take-over of
Safeway could spell disaster for their industry.
Farmers fear large-scale job losses if Morrisons or
Wal-Mart, which owns Asda, wins the six-way tussle for the supermarket
In contrast to most UK retailers, who have
traditionally bought their bananas from the Caribbean, the two companies
import the fruit from Africa or Latin America.
The Caribbean growers are under pressure to cut
prices after preferential EU trade quotas were outlawed.
WAR THREATENS SOUTH ASIAN TEA
Tea producers from the world's leading exporters —
India and Sri Lanka — have warned a war with Iraq will seriously
affect their businesses.
"Already the Indian tea industry is in a bad
shape and the situation could take a turn for the worse if there is a
war in Iraq," said D.M. Jain, president of the Indian Tea
His comments come after Sri Lanka's tea factory
owners issued a similar assessment.
Tea has seen "a drop in prices and less demand
mainly in the low grown sector due to the impending war in Iraq,"
Sarath Samaraweera, chairman of the Private Tea Factory Owners
Association said last week.
SHELL OFFERS PROFITS
Strong oil prices have helped Shell to a 46% jump in
earnings, enabling it to post the biggest quarterly profit by a European
company this year.
During the last three months of 2002, the Anglo-Dutch
firm made a net profit of $2.8bn (£1.7bn), or $9.2bn for the year as a
FRENCH CLAIM AIRBUS VICTORY IN INDIA
The French Prime Minister has claimed victory for
Airbus in its battle with Boeing for a 43 passenger plane order from
Indian Airlines worth $2.1bn.
"Indian Airlines has chosen to buy 43 Airbus
planes," Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin in a statement.
"I am of course hopeful that this choice will
soon be made official."
SHOCK SURGE IN GERMAN JOBLESS
German unemployment has risen to 11.1%, its highest
rate during the government of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
The January unadjusted jobless total of 4.62 million
represents a jump of almost 400,000 since December.
The news is the latest blow to Mr Schroeder, whose
popularity has been battered by a string of gloomy economic data since
he was re-elected in September.
VODAFONE PREPARES FOR JAPAN SELLOFF
UK mobile phone giant Vodafone is in talks to sell
its landline operations in Japan for as much as $2.5bn.
The plan is to shift the high-volume, low-margin side
of its two-thirds owned Japan Telecom subsidiary onto someone else's
shoulders while keeping hold of the more lucrative mobile service,
First in the line of suitors is US investment fund
Ripplewood, Japan Telecom said recently after a blizzard of news reports
suggesting a deal was close.
CISCO QUARTERLY EARNINGS SURGE
The networking giant earned $991m (£603m) in the
second quarter, up sharply from $660m a year ago.
US STEEL TARIFFS 'COST THOUSANDS OF US JOBS'
Tariffs imposed on steel imports to the United States
last year are largely responsible for the loss of nearly 200,000
American jobs, a business lobby group has said.
The Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC)
says the number of job losses is greater than the total number of people
employed in the steel industry.
The tariffs announced by US president Bush last year
were intended to protect steel companies and workers from a surge in
imports, much of which, the industry maintained, were either unfairly
subsidised or dumped — sold for less than the cost of production.
DUTCH GIVE NOD TO 'GURU CURRENCY'
A new "currency" issued by a group founded
by Beatles guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi may be used and has not violated
Dutch law, the Dutch central bank has said.
The Global Country of World Peace, set up by the
Indian mystic, issued the brightly coloured notes of one, five and 10
"raam" last October.
Since then, more than 100 Dutch shops, some of them
part of big department store chains, in 30 villages and cities have
accepted the notes.
VENEZUELA PEGS CURRENCY TO US DOLLAR
Venezuela has pegged its currency at a rate 17%
stronger than what it last traded at to protect its foreign cash
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made the move as
substantially reduced, two-month-old strike by right-wing opposition
groups continues to drag on the economy.
INDUSTRY GLOOM HITS EVERY CORNER OF UK
Industry is gloomy about its prospects across every
region of the UK, according to the Confederation of British Industry
For the first time in a year confidence is down
across the entire country, with all regions, except Northern Ireland,
expecting job cuts.
The CBI is predicting around 42,000 redundancies by
the end of April.
UPBEAT VERDICT ON PRIVATE FINANCE PROJECTS
Most building projects under the controversial
Private Finance Initiative are being delivered on time and under budget,
according to the public spending watchdog.
The National Audit Office said PFI — which involves
private firms in public sector projects such as hospitals, roads and
government offices — seemed to be offering some improvements.
It said less than a quarter of 37 construction
projects it looked at came in over budget.
NO CHANGE FOR EUROZONE RATES
Europe is waiting to see how inflation may develop
this year Eurozone interest rates have been left unchanged at 2.75%.
The European Central Bank (ECB) made a hefty
half-point cut at its meeting in December, and had been widely expected
to leave rates alone this month.