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Sinking yen can be 'bad' for Japan, finance chief says in rare remark

But Tokyo lacks effective ways to reverse currency's decline

The Japanese yen hits a fresh 20-year low against the U.S. dollar.    © Kyodo

TOKYO -- A rapidly weakening yen can cause problems for Japan's economy, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said Friday, as speculation mounts that Tokyo will step in to curb the currency's slide for the first time in more than two decades.

When the surging cost of materials "can't be sufficiently passed on through higher prices, or wages don't grow enough to make up for them, a weak yen can be considered a bad thing," Suzuki said. He spoke Friday morning, before Japan's currency slid further to as far as the mid-126 range against the U.S. dollar, its weakest since May 2002.

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