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Tuesday, August 31, 1999 Published at 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK

Business: The Economy

Japan unemployment stays high

The yen's rise will be up for discussion at the G7 meeting

Unemployment in Japan remained high in July, the Japanese authorities said, though industrial output is set to increase.

This has prompted economists to say that Japan could be heading for a "jobless recovery".

Unemployment in July stood at 4.9%, unchanged from June, with the total number of jobless people up 490,000 on a year earlier to 3.19m.

While production declined 0.6% in July from the previous month, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry has forecast it will jump to 4.7% in August and to 4.9% in September.

The strong yen has continued to dog the Japanese economy, prompting speculation that Japan will ask other G7 countries to intervene to curb the yen's rise against the dollar.

Haruhiko Kuroda, vice minister of finance for international affairs, is to tell a meeting of G7 finance deputies in Berlin that a further rise in the value of the yen could derail Japan's recovery.

A report in the Financial Times suggested that other G7 countries might be reluctant to intervene.

German deputy finance minister Caio Koch-Weser said: "It is clear we will discuss the Japanese economic situation and exchange rate questions."

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