TOKYO – Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso on Sunday said it was not Tokyo's goal to weaken the yen and its policies were purely aimed at beating deflation, brushing off foreign concerns about currency wars ahead of a G20 meeting in Moscow.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's calls for aggressive action by the Bank of Japan (BOJ), which has prompted a slide in the yen, has raised alarm in Europe it could contribute to a "currency war" as other central banks adopt similar policies.
"We have launched policies aimed at ending deflation. As a result, the stock price has risen and the yen has weakened," Aso told Japanese public broadcaster NHK on Sunday. "(The yen weakness) is not the goal, the goal is to beat deflation," he said.
Japan may have to defend its actions at a Group of 20 meeting of financial leaders on February 15-16 to stem the criticism of its plan to revive the country's economic fortunes.
The BOJ last month agreed to double its inflation target to 2 percent and made an open-ended commitment to buying assets from 2014, measures intended to lift the economy out of its fourth recession since 2000 and years of deflation.
Aso also said that Japan "endured without complaining" when the yen strengthened as a result of the global financial crisis in 2008.
The yen on Friday skidded to its lowest level since May 2010. Last week the dollar rose 2 percent versus the yen and after 12 straight weeks of gains is up 16.6 percent on the Japanese currency.
(Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)