• Kyodo

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The Finance Ministry will launch a division in July dedicated to promoting sales of Japanese government bonds overseas because the amount of outstanding bonds is building, ministry officials said Tuesday.

The new division will pitch the stability of JGBs to major foreign investors such as banks and pension funds to increase the ratio of JGBs held overseas.

The bulk of JGBs are owned by Japanese, which makes them less susceptible to volatility in the bond market.

As of late last year, the amount of outstanding short- and long-term JGBs had climbed to ¥985 trillion, with only 8.3 percent held by foreign investors, according to the Bank of Japan. The main investors were domestic financial institutions, including the BOJ, which is gobbling them up as part of a radical monetary easing program designed to double the nation’s monetary base, promote lending and stoke 2 percent inflation.

The new JGB division will hold regular meetings with the Tokyo offices of foreign central banks to gauge their interest in Japanese government bonds. It will also issue monthly English news letters on the bonds to explain Japan’s bond management policy, macroeconomic trends and “growth strategy.”

“It’s indispensable to ensure bond holdings by diverse investors for the stable purchase of Japanese government bonds,” a ministry official said. “Disseminating correct information abroad will be important.”

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” program, a spike in JGB yields could put the Japanese economy at grave risk. Japan’s debt is the highest among the Group of Eight developed economies.

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