• Kyodo News

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Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda agreed Friday with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that they will continue to work closely and keep tabs on Europe’s sovereign debt woes, as they held their first talks by phone.

Noda said he told Geithner earlier in the morning that Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was sworn in Tuesday, regards “the Japan-U.S. alliance as the foundation of Japan’s foreign policy” and in line with that policy, Tokyo will continue to “work closely” with Washington on financial affairs.

The new finance minister also told reporters the two agreed to “carefully watch developments in Europe,” where some countries are afflicted by sovereign debt problems, leading to turmoil in global financial markets.

In their 15-minute chat, Noda said the two did not discuss a foreign-exchange policy, including the yuan, on which Geithner has been pressing China to be more flexible.

Noda also told Geithner that efforts are under way in Tokyo to thrash out a long-term fiscal policy and a set of plans to spur economic growth by the Group of 20 summit to be held in Toronto later this month, according to Noda.

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