A senior Japanese government official said on Wednesday that there was no “good or bad” exchange rates, in remarks that suggested Tokyo was not ready to take immediate action against the weaker yen.
In an interview with Reuters, deputy chief cabinet secretary Seiji Kihara repeated the authorities’ common refrain that sharp moves in currency rates were undesirable and that the government would closely watch the impact of a softer yen on the economy.
Asked about growing voices that the falling yen was problematic for Japan – including from its own finance minister, Shunichi Suzuki – however, Kihara said: “There’s no such thing as good or bad” in exchange rates.
He also declined to speculate on the reasons behind the yen’s weakness, saying: “That’s not for the government to answer,” and added that it was up to currency authorities to act appropriately on a daily basis.
The dollar at one point scaled a fresh two-decade peak to the Japanese currency of 129.43 yen on Wednesday, compared with around 114 yen at the beginning of March.
On Monday, Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the yen’s recent moves have been “quite sharp” and could hurt companies’ business plans, offering his strongest warning to date of the risks stemming from the currency’s depreciation.
Kuroda said there was no change in his assessment that overall, a weak yen was good for the economy since it boosts the value of profits Japanese firms earn overseas.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell