Japan urges EU to make more convincing efforts

Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:26pm EST
 
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By Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi on Tuesday urged Europe to make further efforts to convince markets of its resolve to overcome the region's debt crisis and expressed caution about any potential Japan contribution to a rescue fund through the IMF.

Azumi said Japan would cooperate where it can but only after Europe comes up with a thorough scheme and resources needed to build a fire wall and prevent contagion of the debt crisis.

The United States has been wary of additional resources for the International Monetary Fund to help Europe and Canada has shown no interest in contributing to a euro zone rescue through the IMF.

"I can understand the stance of the United States and Canada," Azumi told reporters.

"Without European countries showing exactly how much would be needed to deal with the crisis, we would not be able to move on to the next step involving the IMF," he added. "The EU must make further efforts to convince markets."

Azumi was speaking days after 26 European Union member states - all of them except Britain - reached an historic agreement to draft a new treaty for deeper fiscal integration as part of efforts to solve the debt crisis that has shaken Europe for two years.

Asian stocks fell on Tuesday and the euro languished near a two-month low as investors took fright at the prospect of mass euro zone sovereign ratings downgrades after the outcome of the summit failed to convince markets.

Ratings agency Moody's said it would review ratings of all EU member states in the first quarter of 2012, while rival Fitch said the summit had failed to provide a "comprehensive" solution to the debt crisis.

(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)