Money Matters - Simplified

Naoto Kan

Yen's rise causes concern in Japan

Tokyo -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Thursday that the escalating value of the yen against the U.S. dollar had become a cause for concern.

Kan, while on vacation, spoke on the telephone to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, Kyodo News reported. During the conversation, Kan said the yen's appreciation was "too rapid," a government official said.

Japan's Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs Rintaro Tamaki said Thursday that "financial market conditions at home and abroad" were part of a discussion early in the day with Bank of Japan Executive Director Hiroshi Nakaso, the newspaper said.

Neither Kan nor Tamaki indicated Japan would enter the currency market in an attempt to devalue the yen.

Japanese PM's wife criticizes in new book

Tokyo -- A book by the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan includes not only details of her life, but also some sharp criticisms of her husband.

Nobuko Kan's book, "Just what will change in Japan after you become prime minister, dear," published by Gentosha, aims barbs at her husband's performance as prime minister, including an admission that "even a family member couldn't have given his general policy speech a passing grade," the Mainichi Shimbun reported Friday.

"Actually, he is more suited to being party secretary-general or head of the policy research committee than being the leader of the party," Kan wrote.

Japan expects surplus by 2020

Tokyo -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government, tackling a national debt that threatens a Greece-like crisis, says it plans to achieve a surplus by 2020.

Separately, the government forecast the economy to grow faster in fiscal 2010 for a gross domestic product rate of 2.6 percent, up from a 1.4 percent forecast in December.

In its effort to check the national debt, the highest in the industrialized world, the government's long-term fiscal policy would include capping spending at less than 71 trillion yen, or $780 billion, through 2013. Bond issues during this period would be kept at less than 44 trillion yen, or $484 billion.

Fiscal measures to control burgeoning debt on the anvil

Support for new Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's dwindled nine percentage points after Kan expressed his readiness to consider raising the nation's sales tax rate.

Japanese economy Q4 growth 1.1%

Japanese economy grew by 1.1 percent in the final quarter of 2009 according to recent figures. The economy showed an annual increase of 4.6 percent.

Govt. says Japan in deflation

Tokyo -- Japan, hit by falling prices, is faced with a deflationary situation despite recent signs of recovery, the government said Friday.

The announcement, the first such in three years, comes in the wake of recent expectations of continuing recovery from the country's worst post-war recession.

The government believes Japan is in ''a deflationary situation'' and the role to be played by monetary policies is very important, said Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who is also the state minister for economic and fiscal policy, the Kyodo news agency reported.

Japan to vote on supplemental budget

Tokyo -- Ruling and opposition parties in Japan agreed to a record $144 billion supplemental budget that will go to a parliamentary vote.

Although the spending measure is likely to lose in the upper house, approval in the House of Representatives will carry the measure, as that vote would trump the vote in the House of Councilors -- the upper house -- Kyodo news reported Thursday.

The vote is expected Friday.

Also on the agenda for Friday, representatives will vote on establishing a consumer affairs agency, a measure expected to pass.