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Japanese and Australian business executives, bureaucrats and others on Friday proposed that an Asian monetary fund be established.

Japan has been lobbying for the establishment of an Asian version of the International Monetary Fund since the currency crises of 1997 but has not been able to fill in details of how one might be financed or how it would dole out cash.

This call for an Asian monetary fund came during two days of talks in Tokyo by the Australia-Japan Conference for a Creative Partnership.

The participants also endorsed ongoing talks between the Japanese and Australian governments to explore the possibility of concluding a free-trade agreement.

The conference, cochaired by Minoru Morofushi, chairman of Itochu Corp., and Jeremy Ellis, chairman of the Australia Japan Foundation, was attended by some 50 business executives, scholars, politicians and bureaucrats.

Participants also called for informal talks to be held, and for farmers, businesspeople, academics and officials to be brought together to discuss ways to facilitate mutual investment in agriculture.

“Changes are being discussed in Japan to promote business investment in agriculture, and there are new opportunities for Japanese investment in food production in Australia,” a summary report released after the conference says.

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