Japan may intervene in the currency markets to check the sharp rise of the yen against major currencies, Finance Minister Jun Azumi indicated Monday.
The warning about intervention, which would mean selling yen in the foreign-exchange markets, came as the yen continued to rise against the U.S. dollar last week, briefly trading at 75.78 to the greenback last Friday, a post-World War II high.
The yen has been trading in the 76 to 77 range against the U.S. dollar for quite some time, a major concern for Japan, as its economy is heavily dependent on exports. A stronger yen makes Japanese exports more expensive in importing countries.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Azumi said the yen's appreciation to a new post-war high did not reflect economic fundamentals, and warned speculators against short-term, one-sided bets for quick profits, Kyodo News reported.
"We must take decisive action against any excessive move," he said.
Earlier, Kyodo quoted an interbank dealer in Tokyo as blaming the dollar's decline on speculators taking advantage of investor concerns about the economic turmoil in the United States and Europe.
"Many investors didn't want to carry their positions over the weekend, which was filled with events about Europe," the dealer said. "A bout of selling added to their sense of urgency and triggered a bigger sell-off involving stop-loss orders … ."
There is also speculation of another monetary easing in the United States to boost the economy, the dealer said.
The Japanese government is concerned the continuing yen appreciation could also affect the country's economic recovery from the March 11 earthquake-tsunami devastation.