Washington Finance officials from the Group of Seven major industrialized countries on Thursday agreed on a coordinated effort to weaken the Japanese yen, which has surged to record levels following last week’s earthquake and tsunami.
A super-strong yen could cripple Japanese exports, further worsening the economic impact of the disaster that killed thousands and triggered an unfolding nuclear crisis.
The coordinated intervention in international currency markets marked the first by the G-7 countries since the fall of 2000, when the G-7 intervened in an effort to bolster the euro.
In a joint statement issued following emergency discussions, the G-7 officials said that the United States, Britain, Canada and the European Central Bank will join with Japan in a “concerted intervention” in currency markets today.
“We express our solidarity with the Japanese people in these difficult times, our readiness to provided needed cooperation and our confidence in the resilience of the Japanese economy and financial sector,” the G-7 finance officials said in their joint statement.
The announcement came as stock trading opened in Tokyo today and had an immediate positive impact. Tokyo’s Nikkei index was up about 2 percent.