PRIME Minister Morihiro Hosokawa promised Japan yesterday that his cabinet would initiate ''a new era'' in which ''it is imperative that we restore the popular trust in government as soon as humanly possible''. Presenting his initial prime ministerial policy statement to both Houses of the Diet - the Japanese parliament - Mr Hosokawa pledged to completely eliminate the massive corporate donations which have resulted in so many recent political scandals. He also promised to ''break up the so-called collusion among politicians, bureaucrats and industrialists'' and other practices ''that have been hotbeds of political corruption''. While there were few new departures in the speech, which consisted largely of positions previously taken by the new Japanese ruling coalition, Mr Hosokawa revealed that the seven parties in that coalition had yet to reach agreement on crucial details of its reform programme. The premier predictably highlighted political reform as his cabinet's ''first and foremost priority''. He noted that previous governments had promised such reform but failed to deliver, with the result that this ''fed political distrust and created a political vacuum [which] has hindered efforts to restore the economy to health''. The new coalition promised to reach consensus on key aspects of its reforms by late last week. But on two crucial issues - the future breakdown between House of Representatives' seats elected in single-seat constituencies or by proportional representation, and whether voters should have two votes or only one - Mr Hosokawa said nothing, indicating that an agreed coalition formula is proving elusive. Mr Hosokawa did however assert for the first time that the new Government would seek to ''outlaw all corporate and other organisational contributions'' to politicians and political parties and to replace them with ''neutral, untainted public funding''. He also stressed that his administration would seek to rectify the relationship between politics and administration and to end the practice whereby bureaucrats provided ''voter or financial support for politicians''. In regard to the economy Mr Hosokawa stressed ''the urgent situation confronting us today'' brought about by sharp upward revaluation of the yen - and the need to pass on the benefits of economic growth and the yen's increased value to consumers. Regarding foreign affairs, Mr Hosokawa took pains to align himself with past Liberal Democratic Party policies. The Prime Minister said he saw ''close co-operation between Japan and the US centred on the Security Treaty to be indispensable to world peace and prosperity''. But he also promised to work for ''even better relations with China, the Republic of Korea, the ASEAN countries and our other neighbours''. Meanwhile, Japanese news reports said yesterday Mr Hosokawa would visit the United States from September 25 to 28 to meet President Bill Clinton and to address the United Nations General Assembly. A Foreign Ministry spokesman told the Kyodo news agency the dates for the visit had not yet been finalised.