French president says eurozone crisis is over, but steps to boost growth needed

French President Francois Hollande has sought reassure Japanese business leaders that the eurozone debt crisis is over but that steps to boost the region's growth and competitiveness need to be taken.

Hollande said in a speech Saturday on the final day of his visit to Japan that "Europe is becoming more solid" and that authorities have developed tools to ensure the stability and solidarity of the 17-nation group.

Although the eurozone debt crisis that broke in late 2009 has eased, the region's collective economy has shrunk for six straight quarters and unemployment has reached 12.2 percent.

Hollande says that while Japan is an "exceptional" partner, France also needs to develop ties with China and shouldn't be expected to choose between the two nations.