Japan finance minister to attend G-20 meet, avoids comment on Russia

Mr Shunichi Suzuki said that the Japanese government is not in the position to respond to each country's participation. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan will attend a G-20 finance ministers' meeting next week, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said on Friday (April 15), as Western nations called for expulsion of Russia from the forum and boycotting sessions where Moscow is represented.

"The Japanese government is not in the position to respond to each country's participation," Mr Suzuki told a press conference when asked about Russia's plans to join the forum online, which current G-20 president Indonesia announced on Thursday.

Last week, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States will boycott some G-20 meetings if Russian officials show up.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner has called for rejection of any form of cooperation with Russia at the G-20.

Japanese officials are keen to have their minister go to Washington next week when G-20 takes place on April 20 on the sidelines of IMF/World Bank spring gatherings. Mr Suzuki was not able to attend the previous meeting in February.

The upcoming G-20 meeting "is a very important conference to discuss various issues of the global economy, including rising food and energy prices due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine... where participation of each country's finance minister and central bank governor is basically expected", Mr Suzuki said.

Meanwhile, Japan "will take appropriate steps in close cooperation with G-7 allies and the host country Indonesia" based on a March G-7 leaders' statement that said international platforms should not continue relations with Russia in a business as usual manner, Mr Suzuki said.

Mr Suzuki and his American counterpart Yellen are likely to meet next week on the sidelines of the G-20 gathering, Kyodo news agency reported on Friday.  

Currencies could be among possible topics, after the two sides affirmed last month close communication between their currency authorities. 

On Friday, the yen fell as far as 126.56 to the US dollar, the lowest since May 2002, as the greenback strengthened on hawkish comments from US Federal Reserve officials.

A weak yen can be "bad" for Japan’s economy if rising costs of raw materials cannot be passed onto prices of goods sold, and if the price inflation outstrips wage growth, Mr Suzuki said on Friday, clarifying his recent remark about the Japanese currency. 

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