As Yen appreciates rapidly, Japan's Finance Minister sounds alarm bells
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso described the yen's recent rise as "rapid" on Friday, signalling concern that a strong currency could add pain to an export-led economy already in recession because of the novel coronavirus.

The yen's recent appreciation comes as the world's third-largest economy has been bottoming out from its deepest post war slump, with authorities juggling a restart of economic activity with efforts to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections.

The currency had been stable at around 107 yen to the dollar under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe administration, Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

"Stability is important, so I'm closely monitoring it with a sense of urgency."

The dollar hit a 4-1/2-month low of 104.195 yen on Friday as investors worried that a recovery in the US economy could be stymied by a second wave of coronavirus.

Japanese shares closed lower on Friday as the safe-haven yen strengthened on dismal US data, while the resurgence of Covid-19 cases dampened hopes of a swift economic rebound, prompting authorities to discuss a response to market moves.

"The government and the Bank of Japan will keep a close watch on underlying market and economic trends and tackle as one as needed," Kenji Okamura, vice finance minister for international affairs, told reporters after a routine meeting with officials from the central bank and the Financial Services Agency.

A Japanese government panel acknowledged on Thursday that the economy peaked in October 2018 and fell into recession, suggesting it was struggling long before its more recent coronavirus slump.

急速な円高と株安を受けて、財務省と金融庁、日銀の幹部が臨時の会合を開きました。  会合には財務省から岡村財務官、金融庁から氷見野長官、日銀から内田理事が出席しました。アメリカ経済の先行き不安などを受けて、31日の東京外国為替市場では円高ドル安が進み、約4カ月ぶりに1ドル=104円台前半をつけました。また、国内での新型コロナウイルスの感染者数の急増を受けて、日経平均株価の下げ幅は600円を超えました。会合終了後、岡村財務官は緊張感を持って市場の動向を注視したいとし、「政府と日銀は必要があれば一体となって取り組んでいく」と強調しました。
Jan 16
A Sapporo court on Friday ruled as unconstitutional the now-defunct eugenics protection law that mandated the government stop people with disabilities from having children, but it rejected a claim for damages sought by a man in Sapporo. (Japan Times)
Jan 16
Tokyo prosecutors on Friday indicted former agriculture minister Yoshikawa Takamori on a charge of receiving bribes from a major egg producer while in office. (NHK)
Jan 15
The government's new program to provide one-off cash benefits of up to Y400,000 to pandemic-affected small companies will cover not only suppliers for eating and drinking facilities but also ryokan Japanese-style inns and taxi operators, the industry ministry has said. (Japan Times)
Jan 14
Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has declared a state of emergency for seven more prefectures, to curb the spread of the coronavirus. (NHK)
Jan 13
The Japanese government is considering giving greater legal authority to prefectural governors in an effort to respond to the spread of the coronavirus more effectively. (NHK)
Jan 12
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday the government will expand a state of emergency declared over the coronavirus pandemic to Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures. (Japan Times)
Jan 10
A South Korean court ordered Japan on Friday to compensate 12 women who were forced to work as sex slaves in wartime Japanese brothels, in a ruling that could rekindle diplomatic and history feuds between the two countries. (aljazeera.com)
Jan 09
U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Japan medical personnel administered the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at Camp Zama, Japan Ja. 6, 2021. (Defense Flash News)
Jan 09
The governors of the greater Osaka area will urge Japan's national government to expand its coronavirus state of emergency to include their prefectures, as the localities set daily records for the spread of infections. (Nikkei)
Jan 08
Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has declared a state of emergency in the greater Tokyo area after a record number of coronavirus cases were reported in the capital and across the country. (theguardian.com)
Jan 06
The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced plans to begin mass production of an extended-range version of the domestically developed ASM-3 supersonic, air-launched, anti-ship missile (ASM). (janes.com)
Jan 05
Japan's government is planning to issue a state of emergency for a second time to contain rising coronavirus cases in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures. (NHK)
Jan 05
Japan plans to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures this week, possibly on Thursday at the earliest, and lasting for about one month to curb its largest-yet surge of coronavirus cases, government officials said Monday. (Japan Today)
Jan 03
Although Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and her counterparts of three neighboring prefectures have requested an emergency declaration by the state over the coronavirus epidemic, the central government remains skeptical about whether a declaration would effectively curb the spread of the contagion. (Japan Times)
Jan 01
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday said the government will do everything in its power to bring the novel coronavirus under control and pledged to push forward with preparations for this summer's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. (Japan Times)
Jan 01
A post-Brexit trade deal between Japan and the United Kingdom came into force Friday, ensuring business continuity and strengthening the bilateral relationship as London seeks to join the larger Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. (Kyodo)
Dec 30
Tokyo's coronavirus outbreak is severe and could explode in the coming days just as Japan begins its New Year's holiday period, in which millions of people usually move around the country, the city's governor said on Wednesday. (Japan Today)
Dec 29
A fresh ban on foreign visitors announced less than a week before New Year's Day was a telling sign of the high pressure Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga faces as he grapples with a deeply unhappy public that has sent his approval ratings tanking. (Nikkei)
Dec 29
Japan's former transport minister Hata Yuichiro, who died on Sunday at the age of 53, has become the first incumbent lawmaker in the country to die of the coronavirus. (NHK)
Dec 27
A Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker attended a drinking party Friday with about 30 people in Toyama, his office said Saturday, despite authorities’ warnings to refrain from dining in large groups to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. (Japan Times)