IMF, World Bank meetings a grand stage to stress nation’s resilience: Hirano

JIJI

Former Bank of Japan executive Eiji Hirano says Japan should take advantage of the annual meetings next week of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group to play up the country’s resilience following the March 11, 2011, quake and tsunami.

Hirano, a former executive director of the central bank, said in an interview that the events in Tokyo will be “a great opportunity” for Japan to demonstrate that the country has achieved recovery and regained stability by overcoming the devastation from the disasters.

Japan should also tell the world how seriously it is tackling energy issues, the aging of society and low birthrate, and massive fiscal deficits, all of which are common problems among developed nations, he said.

The IMF and World Bank meetings will run six days starting Tuesday.

Hirano meanwhile painted a grim picture of the world economy.

“The sense of a global economic slowdown is strong,” he said, pointing to the severe economic slumps in southern European countries due to the region’s financial crisis.

“Things will not become stable unless the course of the euro remains uncertain,” he added.

Hirano pointed out that a slowdown in China “is becoming evident.” Its economy has entered “a difficult period amid a cyclical slowdown coupled with structural problems.” The U.S. economy will likely continue recovering moderately, he said.

Key meetings will take place on the sidelines of the IMF and Word Bank confabs, including a gathering of finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of Seven major industrial countries next Thursday.

The world economy is undergoing major changes, Hirano said, and these meetings will provide an opportunity for financial authorities to squarely face growing uncertainties and discuss how they can address the challenges.

Asked whether currency issues will be addressed at the G-7 meeting, Hirano said that no G-7 discussion has ever skipped the subject.