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Economic Planning Agency chief Taichi Sakaiya expressed wariness Thursday about the recent rise in crude oil prices, implying it could lead to a reduction in Japanese exports to other parts of Asia.

“It could be a factor that would slow the Asian economy and have a negative effect on the domestic economy,” the nation’s top economic policy planner told a news conference.

Sakaiya said, however, he is not worried about the possibility of higher oil prices leading to domestic inflation.

“The influence of oil prices on overall prices is a fraction of what it used to be, so it is very unlikely that it will spur inflation in Japan,” he said.

The increase in crude oil prices is one factor that has been pushing down the nation’s trade and current account surpluses in recent months.

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