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WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) - Japan's "Abenomics" economic policies have led to a cheaper yen but only as a by-product of stimulus steps to pull the country out of deflation, Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Friday.
"To say that a cheap yen is our goal will grossly miss the point," Aso said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
"The big D - deflation - is too difficult and too persistent to get rid of. We must to use every possible means (to beat it). At the end of the day, a shrinking Japan can only do harm to the world," he said in Washington after attending the Group of 20 finance leaders' gathering.
Japan has come under criticism, mainly by some emerging economies, that its aggressive monetary easing steps are aimed at weakening the yen and giving its exports a competitive trade advantage.