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Asian Leaders Discuss Region's Role In Global Economy

May 22, 2008

TOKYO (Nikkei)--A two-day international forum to discuss "The Future of Asia" opened in Tokyo Thursday with the region's top policymakers in attendance.

Organized by Nikkei Inc., the conference brings together such prominent leaders as Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Lao President Choummaly Sayasone and Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suwit Khunkitti to discuss ways for the region to help spur the global economy and improve the environment.

On Thursday morning, Mr. Suwit will address the conference, followed by a debate on the region's subprime loan problems among Bandid Nijathaworn, deputy governor of the Bank of Thailand; Ifzal Ali, chief economist at the Asian Development Bank; and others.

In the afternoon, Mr. Sayasone will deliver a speech, followed by a focus session to examine ways to deepen regional cooperation at a time of surging oil prices. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad and Vietnamese Industry and Trade Minister Vu Huy Hoang will take part in separate discussions.

Among the foreign dignitaries scheduled to appear on the forum's second day are Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah, Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar and South Korean Environment Minister Lee Maanee.

Nikkei has hosted this annual event since 1995.

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.