Japan says no G20 objection to its big monetary stimulus

WASHINGTON Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:31am BST

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso speaks to the media after the Bank of Japan's monetary policy announcement at the Finance Ministry in Tokyo April 4, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso speaks to the media after the Bank of Japan's monetary policy announcement at the Finance Ministry in Tokyo April 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Group of 20 has accepted Japan's explanation that its aggressive monetary easing is aimed at beating deflation and not at competitively weakening the yen.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said after a dinner session of the G20 finance leaders that he affirmed Japan's resolve to continue to put its fiscal house in order to maintain market trust in its finances, and prevent a sudden spike in bond yields.

"Japan explained that its monetary policy is aimed at achieving price stability and economic recovery, and therefore is in line with the G20 agreement in February," Aso told reporters. "There was no objection to that at the meeting," he said.

The G20 finance leaders are expected to confirm a February pledge to avoid competitive devaluations at the two-day gathering ending on Friday, held on the sidelines of the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

The BOJ unleashed an intense burst of monetary stimulus earlier this month, pledging to inject about $1.4 trillion into the economy in less than two years, a major shift from its previous incremental steps.

The measure has sharply undercut the value of the yen, pushing it to multi-year lows against the dollar and the euro and drawing some criticism that it is intentionally trying to weaken the yen to gain a competitive advantage in exports.

"We explained (at the G20 meeting) that we're convinced that the measures we're taking will be good for the global economy as they will help revive Japanese growth," Aso said.

The International Monetary Fund and most advanced nations have endorsed the BOJ's monetary easing as a necessary step to beat deflation, but warned that it must be accompanied by structural reforms and a credible long-term fiscal reform plan.

Some emerging nations worry that massive monetary expansion by advanced economies could unleash huge international capital inflows and drive up the value of their currencies, reducing the competitive advantage of their exports.

Aso said he met U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew before the G20 meeting on Thursday and "reconfirmed the commitment made on currencies in the G7 and G20 communiques."

Lew said the BOJ's latest action was consistent with the February G20 agreement, but noted that the U.S. was monitoring the Bank of Japan's actions for signs it was straying into the area of currency intervention.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Shinichi Saoshiro and Eric Meijer)

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