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Japan ready to help in euro crisis at G8 talks

19 may 2012, 17:43
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is welcomed by US President Barack Obama at the G8 summit in Camp David. ©AFP
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is welcomed by US President Barack Obama at the G8 summit in Camp David. ©AFP
Japan said Friday that it stood ready to extend help in stemming the eurozone's debt crisis as the Group of Eight major industrialized nations opened crisis talks, AFP reports.

Japan, the world's third largest economy and only Asian power in the elite G8 club, has already been a major contributor to an IMF firewall aimed at holding back Europe's woes with a $60 billion commitment unveiled last month.

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will argue in the talks that Europeans hold foremost responsibility in addressing the crisis, foreign ministry spokeswoman Naoko Saiki told reporters.

"At the same time, in order to help the Europeans solve the European debt crisis, Japan is ready to extend its assistance," Saiki said.

"The European sovereign debt crisis may endanger the health of the world economy, so we would like to encourage the Europeans to cope with the matter appropriately as soon as possible," she said.

Further assistance by Japan could include support for the International Monetary Fund or efforts to increase the safety net in Asia, she said.

The G8 talks at the US presidential retreat of Camp David look set to pit President Barack Obama and newly elected President Francois Hollande, both advocates of pro-growth policies, against German Chancellor Angela Merkel who has championed austerity measures.

Japan straddles both positions in the G8. It has sought to stimulate its economy after last year's tsunami tragedy but Noda is championing a politically risky plan to double sales tax to rein in a giant public debt.

Noda will hold his first meeting with Hollande on Saturday aimed at part at discussing a proposal to launch talks on an ambitious free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union, Japanese officials said.

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