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Japan finance minister says deeply concerned about yen rise, vows urgent response

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Japanese finance minister Taro Aso on Friday fired off a warning shot against a recent rise in the yen, saying he was deeply concerned about "one-sided, rapid and speculative" currency moves and would respond urgently if necessary - a hint at possible yen-selling market intervention.

[TOKYO] Japanese finance minister Taro Aso on Friday fired off a warning shot against a recent rise in the yen, saying he was deeply concerned about "one-sided, rapid and speculative" currency moves and would respond urgently if necessary - a hint at possible yen-selling market intervention.

The latest jawboning - official comment intended to influence markets - comes as the yen hit multi-year highs versus the US dollar and euro after the Bank of Japan stood pat on Thursday, despite market fears of global turmoil rout if Britain votes to leave the European Union in the June 23 referendum.

Officials from the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Bank of Japan and the Financial Services Agency (FSA) would meet later on Friday to discuss financial markets, Mr Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

"Stability in currencies is extremely important. We'll closely coordinate with other countries on this issue," said Mr Aso, adding that he was watching the market with a sense of urgency to prevent speculative moves from persisting.

"We will respond more than ever when necessary. I believe such response is in line with G7 and G20 agreements."

In Japan the MOF has jurisdiction over currency policy and intervention. The BOJ conducts intervention at the instruction from the ministry.

Japan has stayed out from the market since it last intervened in November 2011.

Mr Aso declined to comment when asked if the MOF and FSA have any contingency plans to avoid financial market turmoil in case of Brexit.

"It is desirable for Britain to stay in a strong EU," he said.

REUTERS