Japan wants G20 to work on economy

March 12, 2009

, TOKYO, Mar 12 – Japan said on Thursday that it would call for concerted action to stimulate the global economy and for tighter financial regulations at a weekend meeting of world finance chiefs.

"We can make our policies more effective by each country taking fiscal stimulus measures simultaneously," Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano said ahead of the gathering of finance chiefs from the Group of 20 nations in Britain.

"We will argue that it\’s necessary to establish an effective global regulatory system" that covers all sectors including hedge funds, he said.

Japan will call also for more funding for financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank to enable them to play a major role in addressing financial crises, Yosano said.

The meeting, which is to lay the groundwork for an April 2 summit of G20 developed and emerging countries in London, comes amid signs of discord between US and European leaders over efforts to tackle the economic crisis.

The White House has been pressing for more spending by G20 countries, while some Europeans argue that spending measures already are under way and that the focus should instead be on improved regulation to prevent too much risk-taking.

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called for concerted global action to jump-start the economy, as well as for regulatory reforms.

Japan\’s export-dependent economy has been hurt badly by the global economic downturn, which has caused demand for its goods to plunge.

The economy contracted an annual 12.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, slightly less than first thought but still its worst performance in almost 35 years, the government said Thursday.

The G20 includes the G7 countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — plus the European Union and leading developing nations including China, Brazil, India, South Korea and Indonesia.

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