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Japan’s economic fundamentals are in no way weak, Vice Finance Minister
Takeshi Komura stressed Thursday after share prices on the Tokyo Stock
Exchange took another dive.

The fall in the benchmark Nikkei 225 average can be attributed to various
factors, but fundamentals remain solid, the ministry’s top bureaucrat said.
Authorities will continue to closely monitor the situation from “an
international perspective,” he added, indicating that foreign markets,
which are also encountering instability, will also be watched.

Osamu Watanabe, vice minister of the Ministry of International Trade and
Industry, said there is basically no change in MITI’s assessment that the
economy remains on a recovery track. But he said erratic movements on the
stock market will have a negative impact on the corporate mood.

The ministry wants to “remove the gloomy mood from companies” by
accelerating deregulation efforts, he said. Amid the deepening financial
turmoil in East Asia, the TSE, which staged a strong rally Wednesday after
panic selling the previous day, again came under huge selling pressure
Thursday.

MITI announced Wednesday that Japan’s industrial production rose 1.6
percent in September from the previous month. Production, however, is
projected to fall 0.3 percent in October and 2.6 percent in November, it
said. The ministry basically believes November’s sharp fall will be the
result of temporary factors, but it will keep a close eye on whether new
factors emerge, Watanabe said. The number of November weekdays is also two
less this year than last year.

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