Trump: Japan guided yen lower for years

Jiji PressWASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Japan on Tuesday, claiming that the country guided the yen lower for years.

At a meeting with drug maker executives at the White House, Trump said: “Every other country lives on devaluation. You look at what China is doing. You look at what Japan has done over years.”

“They play the money market, they play the devaluation market, and we sit there like a bunch of dummies,” he added.

Trump referred to the Japanese currency issue for the first time since he took office on Jan. 20. He apparently issued a warning to Japan ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington on Feb. 10.

Trump also said, “Other countries take advantage of us with their money and their money supply,” signaling his frustration that the Bank of Japan and other central banks are providing massive amounts of funds to the money markets through their ultraeasy monetary policies.

The Group of Seven major industrial nations and the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies have confirmed their stance of avoiding currency devaluation at their leaders’ meetings in the past, while tolerating monetary policy accommodation in Japan and other countries aimed at stabilizing their economies although such policies lead to depreciation of their currencies.

Discussions at the G-7 and G-20 forums could be affected if Trump continues to criticize monetary policies of other countries, sources said.

Under his “America first” policy, Trump seems to be hoping to curb the dollar’s strength in order to reduce the country’s trade deficits.

The yen’s weakness against the dollar, as well as Japan-U.S. automobile trade could be on the agenda at the coming Abe-Trump summit, the sources said.

Trump has criticized Japan for being unfair in automobile trade with the United States.

Meanwhile, The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that a senior trade official of the Trump administration has criticized the euro’s depreciation against the dollar.

Peter Navarro, head of the U.S. National Trade Council, said that the country’s huge trade deficit with Germany will be an obstacle to negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, an envisaged free trade pact between the United States and the European Union, according to the report.

Abe dismisses claim as incorrect

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday dismissed criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump that Japan has guided the yen lower for years.

“We entrust the Bank of Japan with implementing appropriate monetary policies for achieving its 2 percent price stability target,” Abe said at a Budget Committee meeting of the House of Representatives.

The criticism is “incorrect,” Abe said.

Abe said, “It’s important that Japan and the United States communicate well on the economy and trade, including currency issues.”

“We’ll give explanations as needed,” the prime minister said, indicating his eagerness to seek understanding for Japan’s policies in case Trump takes up currency issues at their meeting in Washington on Feb. 10.Speech

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