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Tokyo attempted June 24 to patch up the damage caused by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s remarks in New York on June 23 that sent stock prices on Wall Street into a free fall, saying his comments were taken out of context.

“Japan has never thought about selling U.S. government securities in the past and will not think about it in the future either,” Finance Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka told reporters. Mitsuzuka met reporters when he changed planes at Narita airport on his way from Denver to Beijing.

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