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Economy

Japan business chiefs urge wider economic reform in China

Fintech eyed for more cooperation in digital business

A plant belonging to steelmaker Shougang Group lies idle on the outskirts of Beijing. China has worked to reduce overproduction of steel. (Photo by Akira Kodaka) 

BEIJING -- Visiting Japanese business leaders on Tuesday hailed China's efforts to cut industrial overcapacity and called on policymakers to expand structural reforms to the world's second-largest economy.

The delegation led by Shoji Muneoka, the chairman of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, met with members of China's National Development and Reform Commission in Beijing.

"We value China's supply-side reforms," Muneoka told the commission. 

A senior commission member responded that reducing China's overcapacity has raised profit margins, adding that the country will continue to "undertake production reforms and structural adjustments."

China's steel overproduction, alleged intellectual property abuses and other practices have fueled the escalating trade war with the U.S., but the Japanese business leaders struck a positive tone on Chinese actions to reduce bloated industrial capacity.

Looking beyond heavy industry, the two sides also discussed increasing cooperation in areas of the digital economy, notably financial technology.

"The Japanese business community believes that innovation is a promising sector," said Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, the country's leading business lobby known as Keidanren.

Mizuho Bank Chairman Nobuhide Hayashi said the lender seeks to explore new business models in finance and other areas that harness the two nations' technologies.

"China is seeing remarkable growth in the digital economy," Hayashi said.

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