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。
Aug 09
People in Japan are remembering the victims of a catastrophic event during World War Two. Exactly 75 years ago, an American warplane dropped an atomic bomb on the southwestern city of Nagasaki ... just three days after one leveled Hiroshima. (NHK)
Aug 09
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested popular manga author Tatsuya Matsuki over the alleged molestation of a middle school girl in Nakano Ward earlier this year, reports Sankei Sports (Aug. 8). (tokyoreporter.com)
Aug 09
Toyama Prefectural Police have arrested a 22-year-old man for allegedly setting fire to the corpse of his girlfriend at their residence in Takaoka City, reports Jiji Press (Aug. 9). (tokyoreporter.com)
Aug 09
A high school girl from Saitama Prefecture who used a game console to alert police after a 44-year-old man confined her inside his residence had been there for one month, police have revealed, reports TV Asahi (Aug. 7). (tokyoreporter.com)
Aug 09
The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has declared a "state of environmental emergency" after a Japanese-owned ship that ran aground offshore days ago began spilling tons of fuel. (Japan Times)
Aug 08
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says 429 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed as of 3 p.m. on Saturday. (NHK)
Aug 08
Japan confirmed a record 1,597 new coronavirus infections on Friday, as cases continue to mount throughout the country, particularly in urban areas like Tokyo and Osaka. (Kyodo)
Aug 08
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 35-year-old man who is suspected of swindling multiple women he met online, reports Fuji News Network (Aug. 7). (tokyoreporter.com)
Aug 07
The Cabinet on Friday earmarked ¥1.13 trillion in reserve funds to continue measures to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. (Japan Times)
Aug 07
The mother of a cast member of popular reality TV show "Terrace House" who apparently committed suicide said Thursday she plans to pursue charges against those responsible for cyberbullying her daughter. (Kyodo)
Aug 07
A huge Olympic rings monument in Tokyo Bay has been temporarily removed for safety checks. (NHK)
Aug 06
People in Japan are taking a moment to pause and remember the victims of a catastrophic event. (NHK)
Aug 06
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 34-year-old man for allegedly drugging and raping a woman earlier this year, reports TBS News (Aug. 6). (tokyoreporter.com)
Aug 06
The average summer bonus at major Japanese companies this year dropped 2.17 percent from a year earlier to ¥901,147, a Japan Business Federation survey showed Wednesday. (Japan Times)
Aug 06
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a male German national for allegedly spraying a liquid on two women in Shibuya Ward earlier this week, reports TV Asahi (Aug. 3). (tokyoreporter.com)
Aug 04
A man suspected of taking illicit films of a girl plunged to his death from his apartment in Nakano Ward on Tuesday, police said, reports TBS News (Aug. 4). (tokyoreporter.com)
Aug 04
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a male university student over the alleged molestation of a woman in Ota Ward, reports TV Asahi (Aug. 4). (tokyoreporter.com)
Aug 04
An old train car that has served as a tourist information center outside Tokyo’s busy Shibuya Station was removed Monday to be relocated to the birthplace of Hachiko, the famously loyal dog immortalized in a nearby statue. (Japan Times)
Aug 04
A survey by credit research firm Teikoku Databank shows 400 businesses in Japan have gone under due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Aug 03
Popular Japanese singer-songwriter Noriyuki Makihara was sentenced Monday to two years in prison, suspended for three years, for possessing illegal drugs. (Japan Times)