The nation’s new top currency official said Wednesday that recent foreign exchange movements are “more natural and healthier” than those of last year, indicating the government is content with current exchange rates between the yen and U.S. dollar.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since assuming the post on July 2, Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs Hiroshi Watanabe said Japan’s exchange policy remains unchanged, suggesting monetary authorities will intervene in currency markets to stem excessive volatility.

“I don’t comment on levels (of dollar-yen exchange rates), but recent foreign exchange movements were not as one-sided as those of last year,” he said, referring to the yen’s sharp appreciation despite market concerns over the nation’s weak economy.

Currency dealers and strategists had anxiously awaited to hear what policy stance would be taken by Watanabe, formerly director general of the Finance Ministry’s International Bureau, after taking over the post from Zembei Mizoguchi, who has retired.

Watanabe said foreign exchange movements should reflect the fundamentals of the economies involved. He said monetary authorities “will take necessary steps if disorderly movements and excessive volatility are seen in the markets.”

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