Recent rise in yen ‘extremely worrying’: Japan finance minister

Recent rise in yen 'extremely worrying': Japan finance minister

Recent rise in yen ‘extremely worrying’: Japan finance minister

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* Natural Sound

Finance leaders from the Group of Seven industrial countries have begun a semi-annual meeting with attention expected to focus the yen’s sharp advance against the dollar.

Japan is seeking a commitment from its G-7 partners to take action to reverse the yen’s climb.

Leaders of the world’s seven biggest economies gathered in Washington on Saturday for a meeting which is bound to be dominated by concerns over the strengthening of the Japanese currency.

There are fears a strong yen will hinder Japan’s economic recovery by hurting export-oriented manufacturers.

In their communique to be issued after Saturday’s meeting, the G-7 finance ministers and central bankers are expected to welcome recent signs of an economic recovery in Japan, referring to two consecutive quarters of increase in real gross domestic product.

On the U-S economy, they’re expected to reaffirm its continued strong performance but will note the importance of using large budget surpluses to reduce federal debt, not to finance tax cuts.

The G-7 countries are expected to also confirm their commitment to help the world’s poor countries through helping reduce their debt.

Last June, the G-7 leaders, meeting at a summit in Cologne, Germany, approved a plan to waive all their outstanding official development assistant loans to designated heavily indebted poor countries.

The G-7 meeting in Washington is expected to reach broad agreement on how to finance the Cologne initiative.

On alleged corruption and money laundering in Russia, the G-7 members are expected to confirm the importance of establishing safeguards on the use of International Monetary Fund (I-M-F) and World Bank money.

On the Year 2000 computer glitch, the G-7 countries are expected to welcome the creation by the I-M-F of an emergency lending system.

The new I-M-F facility, announced on Friday, is designed to provide emergency funding for countries facing a massive withdrawal of funds by investors worried about inadequate preparedness for the millennium bug.

The G-7 countries are also expected to agree to create a consultative body between industrialised countries and emerging economies to discuss international financial issues.

The proposed body is aimed at preventing crises like the one that hit Asia in 1997-1998 by strengthening the world financial system.

The G-7 group comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

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