From: Reuters
Published December 27, 2007 11:34 PM

G7 finance ministers to meet in Tokyo on Feb 9

By Yoko Nishikawa

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will host a meeting of Group of Seven finance chiefs on February 9 in Tokyo to discuss challenges facing the global economy including fragile markets and high oil prices, Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga said on Friday.

Japan takes over the presidency of the G7 group -- the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada -- from Germany in 2008 and will host the regular get-together of finance ministers and central bank governors.

"I expect the meeting to discuss financial market conditions centering on subprime mortgage loan problems, high oil prices and the world economy," Nukaga told a news conference.

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"While basically confirming that the global economy is growing as a trend, it will be important to discuss what we can do to deal with some unstable factors," he added.

The Financial Stability Forum (FSF), a group of central banks, regulators and international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, will submit an interim report on a broad reform agenda for the financial sector in the wake of the subprime crisis to the February G7 meeting, Nukaga added.

"We are asking for an interim report from the FSF regarding issues like hedge funds and subprime loan problems. I expect some reports on financial institutions' crisis management and rating agency issues and we will discuss them," he added.

The FSF is expected to propose concrete measures in April when the G7 financial chiefs are due to meet in Washington on the sidelines of the meeting of the IMF and the World Bank.

The rich nations' club last met in October in Washington where they turned up the heat on China to let its currency rise faster.

They also said the world economy remained strong, although market turmoil, high oil prices and weakness in the U.S. housing market would likely weigh on growth.

Nukaga said the G7 planned to invite other countries to the February meeting but no decision had been made on which countries to invite or what topics would be discussed.

Japan will also host a G8 leaders' summit in July. The group comprises G7 nations and Russia.

Nukaga said he planned to visit India and Vietnam early in January.

"Meeting and exchanging views with Indian officials is important as we will be representing Asia when hosting the G7 and G8 summit and need to understand Asia's standpoint and its outlook," Nukaga said.

Vietnam and Japan will chair finance ministers' meetings of the ASEAN plus China, Japan and South Korea (ASEAN+3) next year and it would be important to build trusting relations with Vietnamese officials and have a common view on issues, he added.

ASEAN groups Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

(Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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