• Kyodo News


Finance Minister Naoto Kan did not ask Canada to raise the need for a stronger Chinese yuan at the Feb. 5-6 meeting of Group of Seven finance ministers in Nunavut, the Finance Ministry said Thursday, flatly denying overseas media reports.

Senior ministry officials, requesting anonymity, said the reports are unfounded.

Kan has never met Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the officials said, adding he has not telephoned or sent a letter to Flaherty regarding issues to be addressed at the G7 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Iqaluit on Baffin Island.

Japan will inform financial authorities in Canada and China that Tokyo never made such a request, one of the officials said.

According to Reuters, Flaherty said Wednesday that Kan had called for the item to be on the agenda and that, as the chair of the two-day meeting, Canada would oblige.

“The new Japanese finance minister has been clear in his wish that . . . we have this item on the agenda. So we will have it on the agenda, and we will discuss it together,” Reuters quoted Flaherty as telling reporters.

Like at past G7 meetings, currency issues, including reform of China’s exchange policy, are expected to be one of the top agenda items at the forthcoming talks, according to the officials.

“It’s no surprise that the G7 would discuss currency issues,” one of the officials said, adding that Kan’s recent remarks to reporters in Tokyo might have been misinterpreted.

On Jan. 14, Kan told reporters he would express opinions regarding China’s currency policy at the meeting “if necessary” if other G7 countries raise the issue, as the discussion could have a major impact on Japan’s economy.

In the G7 meeting in October, the finance leaders in their communique repeated their phrase, “We welcome China’s continued commitment to move to a more flexible exchange rate.”

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