January 1, 1999
Statement by Finance MinisterKiichi Miyazawa
Today marks the birth of a new currency, the euro, which I very muchwelcome. This is a great step forward towards a closer Economic and Monetary Union whichhas been made possible by the European countries continued efforts in the past 30 orso years. It is expected that the birth of the euro will lead to greater integration oftheir economies, further expansion of regional trade and investment, increased mobility oflabour within the area, and, as a result, higher economic growth in Europe. Given thelarge economic area behind it, I think that the euro will also play a significant role inthe international monetary system. We intend to further strengthen our relationship withthe euro-area countries in the fields of economy as well as the international monetarysystem.
We acknowledge the importance of the internationalisation of the yen inlight of global economic and financial developments such as the Asian financial crisis:the birth of the euro also attests its importance. In this context, we have recentlyannounced measures to promote the yens internationalisation, which include measuresto increase liquidity in Japans short-term financial markets as well as those tofacilitate investment by foreign investors in Japanese government bonds. We will continueto make every effort in various fields in order to further promote international use ofthe yen.
Finally, euro-related trading should be conducted smoothly when it startsin a few days time: I would like to ask market participants to work, and cooperatewith each other, for this purpose.