High-ranking financial officials from six Asia-Pacific states and regions will meet in Tokyo next week for discussions on financial and foreign currency matters as a step toward creating an Asian version of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, Finance Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka said Feb. 25.

The meeting, to be held next Mar. 4, will be attended by vice minister ranking delegates from the United States, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. Japan will be the host.

Mitsuzuka told a news conference that he hopes to see the six members agree in Tokyo to meet regularly, eventually move to the ministerial level and include central bankers. He said he also foresees discussions similar to those of the G-7 and the creation of an Asia-Pacific G-7. “Given the high growth in Asia, the main theme of the meeting will be macroeconomics, but at the same time we would like to see cooperation deepen on such issues as foreign currency markets and financial stability,” he said.

Mitsuzuka noted the benefits of the current G-7 meetings, which bring together the finance ministers and central bank heads of the U.S., Germany, France, Britain, Japan, Italy and Canada, in promoting stability in global economic and foreign exchange markets.

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