Japan to offer $105 bln for IMF bailouts
Japan will offer up to 10 trillion yen ($105 billion) to the International Monetary Fund to bailout nations reeling from the global financial crisis, The Nikkei newspaper reported Thursday.
Japanese officials have repeatedly said Tokyo is ready to provide some of its ample cash for IMF loans if the multilateral group doesn't have enough funds for bailouts. But the ministers have not given an amount, AP reported.
The Nikkei, the nation's top business daily, said the amount is likely to be about 10 percent of Japan's $1 trillion foreign currency reserves. The money will be offered for nations such as Serbia and the Ukraine that may need large loans, the report said without citing sources.
Japan has been eager to boost its international clout by being generous with cash for stabilizing the world's financial system during the unfolding crisis.
The Nikkei said Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso will make the offer during a two-day meeting, which begins Friday in Washington, and will gather representatives of some of the world's biggest industrial democracies, emerging nations and international bodies to discuss the financial crisis.
The prime minister's office declined to comment on the report.
Besides the United States, the countries represented will be Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and Britain. Those countries and the European Union make up the so-called G-20.
Last month, Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said Japan will offer cash along with proposals about accounting standards and other regulatory changes needed to reform the international financial system.
Nakagawa did not say acceptance of the proposals would be needed to get any of the money but he said Japan expects to play a greater leadership role on the international stage. He said the IMF has about $210 billion but that may not be enough.
"Japan is ready if that proves insufficient," he told reporters. "We see lending to the IMF basically as risk-free."
Profits at Japanese financial companies have nose-dived because of stock market's steep fall but Japanese banks are relatively sound compared with their counterparts in the U.S. and Europe.
Ukraine, reeling from a drastic fall in global demand for steel, has already received the first $4.5 billion of a $16.5 billion emergency loan from the IMF.
The IMF has also approved a $15.7 billion loan for Hungary, one of the countries in Eastern Europe hardest hit by the global financial crisis. Iceland is waiting for a $2 billion IMF rescue loan.