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Friday, March 12, 2004

No yen redenomination: Koizumi


Staff writer

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi dismissed talk of redenominating the yen Thursday after reportedly floating the idea the night before.

"Some people advocated that, but I was only listening," he said.

Koizumi told executives of his Liberal Democratic Party during dinner at a Tokyo restaurant Wednesday night that he might consider redenominating the currency after the summer Upper House election, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said in its Thursday morning edition. His comment came after one of his attendants urged him to adopt the policy, it said.

Talk of redenominating the yen is often floated in times of economic trouble. Many LDP lawmakers believe such action would help reinvigorate the economy by sparking new demands in related products, such as computer systems, vending machines and account books.

But the Finance Ministry, the Bank of Japan and many economists have voiced caution over such moves, calling it nothing more than a temporary pump-priming measure.

Apparently hoping to avoid a fresh controversy, Koizumi denied any plan to redenominate the yen Thursday.

"I didn't talk about that," he said. Redenomination "is a topic that occasionally emerges."

Koizumi said Japan is not ready for currency reform.



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