TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday he agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump during a weekend bilateral summit that currency issues should be left for finance leaders of each country to discuss.
“When I was alone with the president at the White House, I told him that it would be inappropriate for us leaders to directly debate exchange-rate issues,” Abe told parliament.
“Currency issues are best dealt with by the finance minister and Treasury secretary of both countries,” Abe said, adding that Trump consented to the idea.
Japanese policymakers were shocked by an accusation by Trump, made before the summit, that countries like China and Japan were manipulating their currencies to give their exports an unfair advantage.
However, Trump made no public criticism of Japan’s currency or monetary policies either during or after the weekend summit. A senior Japanese government spokesman said Abe and Trump did not discuss currency issues.
Key decisions on economic policy will likely be made at a U.S.-Japan economic dialogue, to be led by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso.
Aso, who is also finance minister, said Japan proposed to Trump the idea of opening the economic dialogue to discuss issues including fiscal, monetary and structural policies.
“It may take some time but it’s important to come up with a good framework” for the economic dialogue, Aso told parliament.
Additional reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Sam Holmes