Archive for Saturday, March 10, 2001

Japanese minister apologizes

March 10, 2001


— Japan's finance minister distanced himself Friday from comments that the nation was on the verge of fiscal collapse, saying he had only meant to highlight the difficulties the country faces.

"I apologize for my inappropriate choice of words to describe current fiscal conditions," Kiichi Miyazawa told reporters. "I meant to say that Japan will face a hard time reforming its fiscal situation."

His apology and clarification came one day after currency traders aggressively sold the yen following his dire warning before Parliament, where he said that "Japan's public finances are very near collapsing" and urged "fundamental fiscal restructuring."

Miyazawa tried to take a more positive approach Friday, emphasizing the condition of the economy as a whole, rather than the debt problem alone.

"The overall economy remains on a recovery track though the pace is very slow," he told Parliament's upper house. Thursday's remarks by the Miyazawa had sent the dollar shooting above 120 yen on worries about Japan's economy. The yen stabilized in afternoon trading in New York.

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