* Dlr/yen near record low, investors wary of intervention
* Speculation strengthening due to U.S. low rates -Azumi
* Concerned if yen moves reflecting economic fundamentals
By Tetsushi Kajimoto
TOKYO, Feb 3 Japanese Finance Minister Jun
Azumi turned up the heat on the currency market on Friday,
saying speculative yen buying has gathered pace since last week
and repeating his mantra that he was ready to act decisively to
counter "one-sided" moves.
The yen crept back near record highs against the dollar
after the Federal Reserve said last week it was likely to keep
interest rates near zero at least until late 2014, pressuring
the U.S. currency.
"I think speculative yen buying has been strengthening since
last week due to lowering U.S. interest rates as a factor,"
Azumi told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
"I am strongly concerned about whether the one-sided yen
rise is reflecting Japan's economic fundamentals," he said.
"My stance has not changed. I will take decisive measures if
there are speculative and one-sided moves."
The dollar hovered around 76.16 yen on Friday, near a
three-month low touched on Wednesday, keeping markets on alert
for a possible intervention to curb the yen's strength.
Analysts have said Japan may intervene if the dollar drops
below 75.50 yen or if trading becomes volatile. But they also
believe Tokyo is not very keen to pull the trigger, given U.S.
criticism of its past solo interventions.
The dollar has been edging closer to a record low of 75.31
yen touched on Oct. 31, when Japan intervened heavily to curb
Japanese authorities spent a record 9.09 trillion yen ($119
billion) on currency intervention in the month to Nov. 28, when
the yen jumped to a record high, according to finance ministry
In August, Japan sold 4.5129 trillion yen in currency
intervention, far exceeding the 2.125 trillion yen it sold on
Sept. 15 in 2010.