A top Finance Ministry official on August 4 repeated the oft-used refrain that Japan stands ready to cooperate if Thailand makes a formal request for financial assistance.

Vice Finance Minister Takeshi Komura told a regular news conference that Japanese authorities were maintaining close communication with their Thai counterparts. Bangkok is currently holding discussions with the International Monetary Fund on an economic adjustment program aimed at shoring up its flagging economy. The package could be finalized as early as August 5.

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