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Abe warns Japanese to prepare for prolonged coronavirus battle

Japan will aim to spearhead cooperation among major nations around the world to support a weakening global economy, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, warning that policy coordination was critical to fight “disruptions” in world financial markets.

The remarks on Saturday (March 14) came after the White House said President Donald Trump will hold a video-conference on the coronavirus with G-7 leaders early next week.
Abe also said Japan will consider various options, including a proposal by ruling party lawmakers to temporarily cut the country’s sales tax rate, to support an economy suffering “quite a big blow” from the Covid-19 outbreak.

“The near-term focus is on containing the virus. After that, we need to put Japan’s economy back on a solid footing. We will take bold, unprecedented steps to achieve this,” he told a news conference.
As fears of the epidemic jolts markets, Japan will aim to lead the debate on global coordination, including on economic policy, using frameworks such as the Group of Seven (G-7) and Group of 20 (G-20), Abe said.

“The impact of the coronavirus (on the global economy) has been enormous and markets are suffering disruptions,” he said. “The government will closely coordinate with other countries as well as with the Bank of Japan.”

“If necessary, we’ll respond appropriately in line with agreements made by the G-7 and G-20,” he added.

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