Prime Minister Naoto Kan and economic ministers on Monday discussed the economic situation and drew up a list of tasks the incoming administration should address to help companies deal with the rapid rise of the yen, which recently hit a record 75.95 yen to the dollar.
At the meeting, the outgoing administration stressed the need to support export-oriented companies to prevent layoffs and help the firms, particularly small and midsized enterprises, secure operational funds. The firms have been seriously affected by the strength of the yen.
The meeting also stressed support for the tourist industry, which has suffered from a decline in the number of foreign visitors, and help to ensure businesses locate their bases for advanced research and production in Japan.
To take advantage of the yen's appreciation, the list included ways to promote mergers and acquisitions of foreign companies and to promote acquisition of natural resources abroad.
The participants agreed the yen's strength could be utilized in the field of human resources by inviting foreign researchers to Japan, while urging more Japanese to study abroad.
Concerning the Bank of Japan, the outgoing administration called for the central bank to exchange information and cooperate closely with the new government, while taking appropriate and decisive policies.
Regarding the foreign exchange market, the Kan administration said the new government must "keep a close watch on market trends and take resolute action when necessary."
Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who was elected Monday to succeed Prime Minister Naoto Kan as president of the Democratic Party of Japan, recently announced the creation of an emergency fund totaling 100 billion dollars (about 7.6 trillion yen) to combat the appreciation of the yen against the U.S. dollar and other currencies.