Japan considering aid to Europe via IMF: Azumi

Japan considering aid to Europe via IMF: Azumi

Japan is considering providing financial aid to Europe by way of the International Monetary Fund to ease tensions over the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone, Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Friday.

"We are considering it. But we are not in a phase of (specifically) mentioning it," Azumi told reporters. He denied Tokyo has already determined a figure for loans to the IMF. The IMF has estimated there will be a USD 1 trillion global financing gap over the coming years as a result of resource shortages at the Washington-based lender and a bailout fund in the eurozone. The IMF says half of the sum should be covered by strengthening its financial base and the other half must come with European efforts.

"Japan has always contributed to the IMF," Azumi said, adding, "We understand the IMF's position." Japan is the second biggest stakeholder in the IMF after the United States.

The Group of 20 advanced and major developing economies will hold a meeting of their finance ministers and central bank governors later this month. Azumi stressed that the G-20 needs to exchange opinions, while the European Union has pursued establishing a "firewall" to prevent the contagion of fiscal problems in some eurozone members from spreading across the region.

The minister said that what the IMF should do would become clear as such discussions proceed, adding that Japan "would like to cooperate" if there is a reason to do so, indicating that aid would come only after Europe makes sufficient efforts by itself to curtail the crisis.

Japan will discuss the issue with non-European countries such as the United States and China, he said.(Kyodo)