Yen slips in Asia on Japan minister's remarks

TOKYO - The yen eased on Thursday after a Japanese minister reportedly said his recent comments about the unit being too weak - which had sparked a sharp rise - had been misinterpreted.

The dollar recouped earlier losses against the Japanese currency, rising to 88.72 yen (S$1.23) from with 88.37 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon.

The euro bought 117.86 yen from 117.42 yen, while the single currency was flat at US$1.3286 (S$1.63).

On Tuesday, the yen jumped after economic revitalisation minister Akira Amari warned the currency's sharp decline could hit consumers by making imported goods more expensive.

But Mr Amari told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that his comments has been taken out of context.

"My view is that the currency market is still in a phase of correcting from excessive yen strength," Mr Amari was quoted as saying. "That was the case back then, and is the case now."

The yen has seen a sharp decline as new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power last month promising huge spending and calling for aggressive central bank easing to boost the economy.

The Bank of Japan will hold a policy meeting early next week, with expectations it will unveil a further loosening of monetary policy.