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 12
The nation entered the dog days of summer Tuesday as temperatures climbed above 40 degrees Celsius in some areas, prompting authorities to issue a heatstroke warning and encourage the removal of face masks in certain situations. (Japan Times)
Aug 12
A court found a 38-year-old man guilty Tuesday for obstructing business at a central Japan town hall in April by acting like a person infected with the novel coronavirus and attempting to spread it to workers. (Kyodo)
Aug 12
A Japanese company that operates a cargo ship that ran aground off Mauritius says nearly half of the oil the vessel is believed to have leaked in the Indian Ocean has been collected. (NHK)
Aug 11
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed 188 new cases of COVID-19 infection Tuesday, holding below the 200 mark for a second straight day, but worries over the spread of the new coronavirus remained amid a heat wave in the middle of the Bon summer holiday period. (Japan Times)
Aug 11
Ninety-one people at a high school in Shimane Prefecture have tested positive in recent days for the novel coronavirus in a cluster outbreak centered on the boys’ soccer team, according to local authorities. (Japan Times)
Aug 11
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says 197 people were confirmed to have been infected with the new coronavirus on Monday. (NHK)
Aug 11
Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have held talks with the top disarmament affairs official of the United Nations. (NHK)
Aug 11
Fukuoka Prefectural Police shot and wounded a man wielding a knife at an apartment complex in Fukuoka City’s Minami Ward on Sunday, reports Fuji News Network (Aug. 10). (tokyoreporter.com)
Aug 10
Sweltering heat continued in Japan on Monday, with temperatures topping 38 degrees Celsius in some eastern and western parts of the country. (NHK)
Aug 10
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says 331 new cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed as of 3 p.m. on Sunday. (NHK)
Aug 10
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines says it believes more than 1,000 tons of oil have leaked from a bulk carrier that ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean on July 25. (NHK)
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 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)