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Japanese PM Abe says Japan will be vigilant to global economic risks

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TOKYO: Japan's government will keep a close eye on looming risks to a global economic recovery as it guides policy, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in an interview aired by public broadcaster NHK yesterday.

Signs of slowing global demand and recent sharp rises in the yen have clouded the outlook for the export-reliant economy, prompting verbal warnings from Tokyo policymakers over the adverse impact of volatile market moves on growth.

"While the global economy is recovering gradually, there are various risks to the outlook," Mr Abe said in the interview, recorded last Friday.

"Japan's economic fundamentals are sound, but we'd like to guide policy with a close eye on the various risks."

Japan will also seek to mend Sino-US trade frictions by promoting global coordination as it chairs this year's meeting of the Group of 20 major economies, Mr Abe said.

"As G-20 chair, Japan hopes to play a leading role to foster global cooperation... to achieve stable, sustainable growth," he said, adding that both the US and China must abide by World Trade Organisation rules on trade.

Any further signs of weakness in Japan's economy could heighten market speculation that Mr Abe might again delay a scheduled sales tax hike to 10 per cent from 8 per cent in October.

The increase has been postponed twice already, after a hike to 8 per cent in 2014 pushed the economy into recession. - REUTERS

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