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Japan hopes to steer "frank" G7 debate on economy, tax evasion

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Prices of many foodstuffs such as pulses, sugar, vegetables and poultry products are set to surge in India in the next three months on thin supplies, which could fuel inflation and give the central bank little room to cut rates, said analysts.

[SENDAI] Global economic uncertainties and measures to deal with tax evasion will be among the key topics that finance leaders of the G7 advanced economies will discuss at a weekend meeting, Japanese finance minister Taro Aso said on Thursday.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda also warned that there are "various challenges" that G7 economies need to address as the global economy suffers from subdued growth.

"With uncertainty over the global economy on the rise, attention will be paid to macro-economic policy, structural reform and measures to deal with tax evasion ... and money laundering," Mr Aso told reporters.

"As chair country, I'd like to steer frank discussions on these issues," he said after arriving in the northeastern city of Sendai for the two-day Group of Seven (G7) finance leaders'meeting kicking off on Friday.

The meeting will pave the ground for a G7 leaders' summit next week, where measures to boost global growth will be high on the agenda.

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Mr Aso and Mr Kuroda may struggle to mask a rift emerging among the once close-knit group of G7 finance leaders on issues ranging from currencies to fiscal policies.

Japan has lobbied for a G7 agreement to take coordinated fiscal action to spur growth, but has received a cool response from Germany, which insists on fiscal discipline.

Tokyo and Washington are also at logger-heads on whether recent yen gains are "excessive", with both sides reluctant to have their currencies rise too much and hurt their economies'fragile recovery.

But the G7 nations may share their concern on weak global growth, which may give Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe an excuse to delay an unpopular sales tax hike scheduled for next April.

Mr Aso sidestepped a question on whether Japan will delay the tax hike, repeating that there was no change to the government's plan to raise the tax unless a massive earthquake or a crisis of the scale of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 hit Japan.


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