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Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa said Tuesday last week’s intervention in the currency markets, which the Bank of Japan conducted through its accounts at the European Central Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, showed the economies’ shared concerns about the weakening of the dollar.

“What was once 130 yen or 131 yen in the market dropped drastically over a mere three to four days to about 125 yen, and fell further below the 120 yen line,” Shiokawa said, referring to the dollar-yen exchange rate.”

The dollar fell from the 130 yen level on April 25; it reached the 125 yen range on May 20, then dipped below 120 yen late last week.

“These are rapid changes in anyone’s eyes,” Shiokawa continued. “It has become a problem for global markets . . . and that is why the countries accepted the request.”

The action, while hinting at greater global concern, should not be confused with a concerted effort; the European and U.S. banks were acting on orders from the BOJ and using the BOJ’s yen.

Shiokawa added that Japan’s foreign-exchange policy remains unchanged, hinting that the nation’s monetary authorities may continue intervening in the foreign-exchange markets to stem the dollar’s fall and buoy the profits of Japan’s exporters.

“We are watching (the markets) with great interest,” Shiokawa said. “We will continue with the stance we have taken so far.”

Last week marked the seventh time since May 22 that the BOJ has intervened in the exchange market on orders from the Finance Ministry; it was the first time that it did so through its accounts at the European and U.S. monetary authorities.

Meanwhile, Heizo Takenaka, state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, said Tuesday the yen has recently been overvalued against other major currencies.

“On this point, we need to watch the U.S. stock market and international capital flows,” he said.

Demand for the dollar has plummeted in recent months as an endless stream of U.S. corporate scandals has cooled foreigners’ appetites for U.S. equities. What’s more, U.S. consumers remain the world’s biggest spenders, pushing an already huge trade deficit to record highs, putting still more downward pressure on the dollar.

The intervention moves are attempts to keep the spillover from strengthening the yen, which would make Japanese exports more expensive and squeeze exporters’ earnings.

Takenaka was also asked to comment on the BOJ’s latest quarterly survey of business sentiment, or “tankan,” released Monday.

He said the survey reinforced the government’s assessment that the economy has hit bottom.

“A recovery in corporate earnings in the second half (of this fiscal year) is an important factor” for the economy, Takenaka said.

The tankan found that sentiment among big manufacturers improved in June for the first time in a year and a half, with the closely watched sentiment index for big manufacturers improving to minus 18 from minus 38 in the March survey, the biggest improvement on record.

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