Staff writer

The yen has a hectic schedule for the year 2000.

The 500 yen coin, an easy target of counterfeiting, may be redesigned. Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa on Wednesday said an anti-counterfeiting measure for the coin is needed as soon as possible, and an answer is expected by yearend.

Then a 2,000 yen bill will debut around July to mark the year 2000 and the country’s hosting of a Group of Eight leaders’ summit in Okinawa.

Another possible event — if it ever happens — will prove the most controversial: legislation to redenominate 100 yen into 1 yen.

Hideyuki Aizawa, a senior Liberal Democratic Party member who leads the ruling coalition’s project team on the issue, said Thursday he hopes to pass redenomination bills next year.

The LDP’s subcommittee, also chaired by Aizawa, has already set the target date for redenomination at January 2002. But he said a preparatory period will be necessary between legislation and implementation.

The Liberal Party appears fully supportive of Aizawa’s idea, but the other coalition partner, New Komeito, is not so sure. More importantly, the LDP itself is split on the issue.

Finance Minister Miyazawa, an influential LDP member, is believed to be against redenomination, though he has not voiced any opposition.

Before the coalition was formed in early October, the three parties agreed to “start discussing” various measures, including redenomination, to strengthen the yen’s international role. The vague wording was intended to “save face for Mr. Miyazawa,” a Liberal Party member said.

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