Japan, China agree to join hands over IMF resources
AFP & REUTERS
TOKYO JAPANESE and Chinese finance ministers on Saturday agreed to cooperate over contributions to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) amid efforts to help subdue Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.
Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi and his Chinese counterpart Xie Xuren met in Tokyo as part of their regular dialogue, Jiji Press and Kyodo News reported.
Azumi told reporters that the two countries would discuss further funding to strengthen the IMF’s financial bases so that the Washington-based multilateral lender can play a more active role in preventing Europe’s debt crisis from dragging down global economic growth.
Azumi said that Japan and China have yet to decide on further financial contributions to the IMF. “Although a critical moment of the European issue has gone, we can never be optimistic,” Azumi told reporters, according to Jiji.
“Europe’s problem has eased from a critical situation seen last year but it is not a situation where we can be optimistic. We need to watch the situation cautiously,” Azumi told reporters. “As for contributions to the IMF, we will hold high level talks towards the G20 meeting in Washington,” the Japanese finance minister remarked.
After providing loans to help debt-wracked countries such as Greece, IMF chief Christine Lagarde has asked members to give the fund $500 billion extra for possible future bailouts.
The issue is expected to be top of the agenda at a meeting of finance ministers from the Group of 20 on April 20.
The European Union expects G20 leaders to agree to contribute more money to the IMF this month after Europe expanded its own bailout capacity to 700 billion euro from 500 billion euro.
Azumi also said he wants Japan and China to lead the global economy this year and Japan’s economy will be able to achieve its goal of real growth rate of about 2 percent this fiscal year. “It is Asia’s economy that has to lead the global economy.
Especially, the economies in Japan and China need to achieve steady improvement,” Azumi said.
“The nation’s domestic demand is improving considerably thanks to reconstruction demand,” he added, referring to Japan. “There have been various factors such as a strong yen and higher oil prices, but Japan’s corporate fundamentals are not bad,” he said.