Japan has pledged a USD 60 billion loan to the International Monetary Fund this week in an attempt to make sure that the debt crisis in Europe will not spread farther.
Jun Azumi, Finance Minister of Japan, has announced the emergency loan that would use the country's foreign exchange reserves. The ministry added that Japan will formally announce the pledge during this week's joint meeting of the G20, World Bank and IMF in Washington.
Japan, the third-largest economy in the world is the biggest donor outside of the Eurozone in IMF's second round of reserve increase in the last three years. According to Fisher Capital Management Korea News, Japan is hoping that its pledge will accelerate and encourage more commitments from other countries such as China.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde was quick to welcome the initiative and encouraged other members to follow suit.
"This is an important step forward in the ongoing international effort to strengthen the adequacy of the global resources available to prevent and fight crises and to promote global economic stability," said Lagarde.
Japan's announcement of support came amidst international discussions on how to increase IMF lending facilities after it announced in January that it would need more resources to aid European nations in securing them against the sovereign debt crisis. However, Azumi said that Japan chose to help despite of its opinion that Europe had not made enough efforts by itself to boost crisis defenses.
IMF, acting as a lender of last resort for governments, is looking to boost its funding by USD 600 billion although securing clear commitments at the Washington meetings is bound to be difficult. For starters, largest shareholder United States has refused to take part in the efforts while Russia, Brazil and China express willingness to contribute if they will get more voting power for it. Canada is not at all interested in chipping in a fund to bail out Europe, saying that it only has enough resources to deal with its own crisis.
Lagarde seems pleased as Japan's aid will add to the USD 200 billion of pledges that came from Eurozone countries, enabling a "decisive progress to be made" by the time of the conference.
It is crucial that IMF funding be reinforced to make sure an end to a crisis in the economy of, not only the Eurozone, but also of Asian countries like Japan and Korea. Portugal, Ireland and Greece have previously sought bailouts after their borrowing costs jumped and today, many are speculating that Spain might be next - the worst part is, it is considered very expensive to rescue. This increases the possibility that the Eurozone's 4th-largest economy among its 17 euro-members may need an international bailout.
After IMF co-financed bailouts in Ireland, Portugal and Greece, it only has around USD 380 billion available in its fund reserves. Fortunately, Lagarde remarked last week that IMF might not need as much money as previously announced due to decreasing economic risks. Officials from G20 speculate that the major economies seem likely to agree in providing USD 400-500 billion.
Fisher Capital Management Korea News noted that Japan's move probably aims to show that it is cooperating in the global economy's condition. It is also aware that a stabilized European economy means a better market for them as well. Actually, it is in everybody's interest that Europe recovers soon. Furthermore, Japan's pledge might just add more stability to financial markets that are suffering over the past few weeks as crisis flared up in Spain again.