A Japanese government official who asked not to be named because the discussions are private said only that the G-20 nations, including those from the G-7, have been in contact ahead of the meeting in Russia.
The yen has weakened about 13% against the dollar since mid-November in anticipation of monetary stimulus advocated by Abe, who took office in December. His campaign has drawn statements of concern from Germany to Canada as officials fret that a weaker yen could harm their exporters.
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told Bloomberg Television last month that he’d spoken to his Japanese counterpart, Taro Aso, to signal his concern. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Jan. 24 that “I can’t say I’m completely free of worry when I look at Japan right now.” Russia, the G-20 chair nation this year, has also warned against the potential for reciprocal action to drive down exchange rates.
Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said Jan. 26 that the government’s focus is on reviving its economy and it is not actively pursuing a cheaper yen.
Japan is “absolutely not deviating from global standards,” Amari said. “I don’t comment on a foreign-exchange rate because it should be determined by the market. What we do is to implement policies.”
Shares of companies from Toyota Motor Corp. to Nissan Motor Co. have soared in recent weeks with the yen’s retreat, and economists at banks from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Nomura Holdings Inc. have boosted their projections for growth this year.
The G-7 hasn’t commented on currencies since a meeting of finance chiefs in the French city of Marseille in September 2011. On that occasion, they “reaffirmed our shared interest in a strong and stable international financial system and our support for market-determined exchange rates.”
“Excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates have adverse implications for economic and financial stability,” the statement said. “We will consult closely in regard to actions in exchange markets and will cooperate as appropriate.”
The topic of exchange rates may also come up on Feb. 13 when Jack Lew testifies before U.S. lawmakers as part of his confirmation process to become U.S. Treasury secretary.
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