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long-gone Member Level  Tuesday, 03/05/02 03:40:12 PM
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To:mikesloan who wrote (533)
From: mikesloan Tuesday, Jul 15, 1997 9:11 AM
Respond to of 82910

Asia currencies not in crisis--MOF's Sakakibara
TOKYO, July 15 (Reuter) - Asian currencies are not in a crisis situation and Japan will cooperate
where it can while watching Asian currency moves, Eisuke Sakakibara, the Ministry of Finance's
newly appointed vice minister for international affairs, told a news conference on Tuesday.

Sakakibara also reiterated the ministry's stance that Japan's surplus in the trade of goods and
services will not increase significantly, looking at the current fiscal year as a whole.

He added that a slight rise in the surplus was possible, but said even such increases would not lead
to trade friction.

``We have been saying that there won't be a significant increase in the surplus. We do not believe
the surplus will become an issue and lead to trade friction,'' Sakakibara said.

Sakakibara said that he will not comment on currency levels but that it was part of the
government's job to relay its outlook on the economy and current account balances.

``When the market is in a frenzy for no legitimate reason, one of our important tasks is to
communicate correct information to the market,'' he said.

Sakakibara said that Japan will make efforts to reach an agreement on the World Trade
Organisation's financial services talks by the end of this year.

He added that Japan will continue pursuing liberalisation of the financial services sector.

Asked about the Thai baht crisis and the economic outlook in Asia, Sakakibara said, ``I don't think
it's a crisis. Thailand is taking appropriate steps.''

He explained that Thailand addressed issues concerning the financial sector, raised interest rates
and tightened state finances before floating the baht, which was ``an extremely appropriate''
measure.

``Thailand, as well as the Philippines, is not in a critical situation,'' he said.

He added that the Philippines is nearing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
on loans and that it has made its currency rate flexible, which is a positive step.

``We will keep watch over Asia's situation and cooperate where we can,'' he said.

Asked whether Tokyo had any plans to formulate a rescue package for Thailand, Sakakibara said:
``It all depends on what kind of request the Thai side makes. Without that (request), I cannot
comment on what the Japanese side can do.''

Thailand's finance and foreign ministers are scheduled to visit Japan later this week for talks
regarding the Southeast Asian nation's recent currency woes.

Sakakibara said that the situation in Thailand today was different from that faced by Mexico during
a currency crisis more than two years ago.

``It is not appropriate to think of Asia now as analogous to Mexico,'' he said.




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