Merkel and Japan PM Abe spoke by phone: German spokesman

BERLIN Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:22am EST

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday, her spokesman said, but he declined to comment on whether they had discussed easing by the Bank of Japan and currency devaluations.

"I just wanted to let you know briefly that the Chancellor spoke on the phone today with the new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. She cordially congratulated him on assuming office," spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

He added that Merkel had expressed her sympathies with Japan over the hostages killed in an Islamist attack on a gas plant in Algeria.

(Reporting by Alexandra Hudson, Stephen Brown)

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