Aso tries to calm German concerns


Finance Minister Taro Aso and his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble, have agreed that the two countries will continue to closely discuss economic and financial matters, a source said.

During a 20-minute conversation Friday on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of Group of 20 financial chiefs in Moscow, Aso briefed Schaeuble on Japan’s recent economic policies centering on drastic monetary easing to beat chronic deflation, the source said.

Schaeuble asked Aso to clarify the purpose of the policies, the source added, as the yen has been sharply weakening against other major currencies on the back of growing expectations for further monetary easing by the Bank of Japan.

Some German officials have expressed concern that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for monetary easing is aimed at manipulating foreign exchange rates in a bid to shore up Japan’s export-reliant economy.

More foreign access


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is calling on Japan to ease regulations to give greater foreign access to its services sector.

“Product market regulations limit competition and investment in services, reducing productivity” in Japan, the OECD said Friday.

The OECD also underlined the need for Japan to reduce restrictions on inward foreign direct investment, including those on ownership of Japanese businesses.

It said Japan should implement full privatization of Japan Post, including its banking and insurance operations.

It also called on the country to “scale back agricultural protection and shift its composition away from price support to direct support for farmers, thereby facilitating Japan’s participation in trade agreements.”

The recommendations are part of an annual report identifying key reform priorities for advanced and emerging economies.