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Japan and Thailand are expected to conclude an agreement by the end of the year over the issuance of baht- denominated Thai government bonds on the Tokyo market, officials said Thursday.

Up to 10 billion yen worth of bonds are likely to be sold to inventors here annually.

The issuance is in line with a scheme being studied by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan, South Korea and China to create an Asian Bond Market.

A regional bond market would see nations issuing bonds and procuring funds in their own currencies.

It would thus lessen Asian countries’ reliance on the U.S. dollar.

Japan is expected to conclude similar bond-issuance deals with other Southeast Asian countries.

Thailand is especially eager to put the scheme into practice, having suffered greatly from the huge withdrawals of dollar funds by U.S. and European investors following the Asian currency crisis that broke out in 1997.

The issuance of baht-denominated bonds in Tokyo is “a step toward creating a system to utilize high savings in Asia,” remarked one senior Finance Ministry official.