World News

Japan calls for ‘timely’ G20 action to combat coronavirus fallout

By Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan called on Group of 20 (G20) finance leaders to take timely policy steps to tackle global economic risks posed by the coronavirus outbreak, its finance minister Taro Aso said.

Aso said after a conference call with his G20 counterparts that the nature of the crisis was different from the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, when dollar funding dried up.

However, Aso told reporters on Monday that he informed the G20 he was “deeply concerned” about the damage the coronavirus outbreak was inflicting on markets and the global economy.

“The G20 has a very important role to play in preventing the infection from spreading, maintaining medical supply and developing vaccines. We need to concentrate our efforts on these factors. I also urged each country to implement necessary and sufficient economic and fiscal measures,” Aso said.

“What the G20 must do now is to take all steps without hesitation in a timely manner,” he said.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who also attended the G20 conference call, told reporters the central bank will take necessary steps to ensure corporate finance and markets are functioning smoothly.

There were sufficient dollar funds being funneled to global markets, thanks in part to an enhanced swap arrangement put in place by major central banks, he added.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto, writing by Leika Kihara; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alexander Smith)