Japan to bring up SKorea at G7

October 9, 2008

, TOKYO, October 9 – Japan said Thursday it was ready to raise South Korea\’s worries about its tumbling currency at an upcoming meeting of the Group of Seven finance chiefs in Washington.

The South Korean won plunged to a 10-year low against the dollar on Wednesday, although it was slightly up in afternoon trade Thursday in Tokyo.

"Naturally, supporting the currency is one issue that Japan has to discuss, given the importance of relations between Japan and South Korea," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura, the Japanese government\’s spokesman.

Foreign exchange rates have been volatile in the spiralling financial crisis. The low-yielding Japanese yen has soared as investors dump higher-risk assets, raising worries over Japan\’s export sector.

"This is a problem which involves not only the South Korean currency, but it also includes the euro. The issue will be discussed in a comprehensive manner," Kawamura told a news conference.

Japan is the only Asian nation in the Group of Seven — which also includes the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada — and has tried to portray itself as the defender of Asia\’s interests.

Tokyo helped South Korea stabilise its currency during the Asian financial crisis a decade ago.

But many Koreans resent Japan due to the legacy of the neighbouring country\’s 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula.

Kawamura said Japan had not received any formal request from South Korea to bring up the won in Washington.

South Korea will take part in an expanded meeting in Washington of the Group of 20, which includes the G7 as well as other major economies including China, India and Russia.

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