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Economy

Ministerial dicussions may start in late May

TOKYO -- Japan and South Korea have begun talking about resuming ministerial-level fiscal discussions in late May, sources told The Nikkei.

     The dialogue, aimed at sharing views on economic policies and financial situations, would involve Japan's finance minister and South Korea's minister of strategy and finance, with working-level officials also attending.

     If the fiscal discussions go ahead, they would be the first between the two governments since November 2012, when a territorial dispute frayed relations.

     The efforts are apparently aimed at showing both governments' willingness to continue financially cooperating despite the expiration of a currency swap arrangement on Feb. 23. The arrangement is in place for emergencies, and the chilly relations are believed to be the main reason for the two countries' failing to renew it.

     Market participants widely expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise its policy interest rate by the middle of the year. If Seoul and Tokyo resume financial discussions before then, the ministers can share their views on how the Fed's likely move will impact Asian financial markets. The two governments could also use the discussions to prepare a new currency swap agreement to cope with possible turmoil in the financial markets.

(Nikkei)

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