Japan Finance Minister: hopes for progress on IMF funding by April 20

TOKYO Mon Apr 2, 2012 9:23pm EDT

Japan's Finance Minister Jun Azumi speaks to members of the media after a meeting with Jim Yong Kim (not in picture), the U.S. nominee for the next World Bank president, at the Finance Ministry in Tokyo April 1, 2012. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Japan's Finance Minister Jun Azumi speaks to members of the media after a meeting with Jim Yong Kim (not in picture), the U.S. nominee for the next World Bank president, at the Finance Ministry in Tokyo April 1, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi said on Tuesday he hoped to see progress on whether countries will contribute more to the International Monetary Fund by a summit on April 20, after Europe strengthened its defenses against its sovereign debt crisis.

Azumi said Japan had not yet decided whether to contribute more to the IMF, but would coordinate with other countries before deciding its position.

"We appreciate the steps Europe has taken so far," Azumi told reporters.

"But the remaining question is whether or not we need to see additional efforts from Europe before the IMF takes a bigger role. We don't know how other countries view Europe's polices, so we hope to hear their views."

European nations are pushing for bigger IMF contributions as a backstop in case its two-year old sovereign debt crisis worsens. Some countries say Europe has enough money to contain its crisis and have taken a dim view of pumping more money into the IMF.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda late on Monday, according to Japan's foreign ministry, after European finance ministers agreed on Friday to raise the combined lending capacity of their two bailout funds to 700 billion euros from 500 billion euros.

Finance ministers from the world's 20 biggest developing and developed economies, the G20, meet on April 20 in Washington to discuss an increase of resources for the IMF.

Azumi said Japan and China will hold finance minister-level talks in Tokyo on April 7, focusing on the global economic outlook and areas where the two countries can strengthen economic cooperation.

(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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