Tokyo fills in G-7 on fiscal crisis control, yen worries

by Jun Hongo and Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writers

At a meeting in Tokyo of finance ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, Japan detailed its ongoing efforts to defuse the nation’s looming fiscal crisis and raised concerns about the yen, which it considers stubbornly overvalued, Finance Minister Koriki Jojima told reporters Thursday.

Jojima said he laid out for his counterparts the progress made to double the consumption tax to 10 percent in 2015 and the government’s intention to pass a bill through the Diet to enable the issuance of bonds to cover the budget deficit.

He also conveyed to his G-7 members Tokyo’s concern that the yen’s gains against other currencies do not accurately reflect the state of the current economy.

Jojima declined to reveal the responses of the other participants, describing their meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s annual gathering, as “informal.”

The G-7 countries share a concern that the risk of a global economic slowdown has increased recently, Jojima said.

“I think that each G-7 member has that concern,” he said after exchanging opinions with his counterparts.

However, he added that each member country is determined to tackle the problem.

While praising the progress made in the eurozone, including the recent launch of the European Stability Mechanism, Jojima said he expressed hope during the G-7 meeting that Europe would take decisive action to resolve the region’s sovereign-debt crisis.

“Regarding the sovereign-debt issues in Europe, it is important that European countries take responsible actions and do all they can and stabilize the market through implementing the measures that they have agreed on,” Jojima said.