Japan compromise on reforms

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The Independent Online
Alast-minute compromise on anti-corruption reforms last night saved Morihiro Hosokawa's government from collapse and cleared the way for long-delayed measures to help Japan out of recession, AP reports from Tokyo.

The compromise, which still must pass Parliament, will also allow the Prime Minister to focus attention on a trade agreement with the United States. American officials insist the trade deal be completed before Mr Hosokawa's 11 February summit with President Clinton in Washington. Mr Hosokawa promised to make anti-corruption reforms his top priority and hinted he would resign if reform legislation failed - a prospect that appeared increasingly likely after Parliament's upper house rejected the bills last week. But in nearly six hours of late-night negotiations with Yohei Kono, leader of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, Mr Hosokawa compromised on several key points.