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Japan defends monetary policy, weak yen

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Japan's finance minister is pushing back against criticism that the low value of the yen is giving its manufacturers an unfair advantage.

Taro Aso told reporters Friday that over the past year, Japan has suffered trade deficits, so it's unfair to say the yen is unreasonably low.

The yen has lost over 20 percent of its value versus the U.S. dollar since October. That's made Japanese exports more competitive but also raised costs for manufacturers who rely on imported energy and commodities.

Speaking after meeting G-20 finance ministers, Aso noted the yen had appreciated sharply in value after the global financial crisis began.

Central bank governor Haruhiko Kuroda said Japan would continue monetary easing, aiming at stimulating the economy and reaching an inflation target, not to gain competitive advantage.