Japan Purchased 4.7% of Debt Sold by EFSF, Finance Official Says

Japan purchased 4.7 percent of the debt issued by the European Financial Stability Facility yesterday, a Japanese Finance Ministry official said.

The government bought 160 million euros ($210 million) of the 3.44 billion euros of bills, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the ministry’s policy. The EFSF had planned to sell as much as 3.5 billion euros.

Japan has purchased about 14 percent of the EFSF bonds sold since January last year to help Europe through the region’s sovereign debt crisis, according to the Japanese government. At a Group of 20 nations meeting in Mexico last month, Finance Minister Jun Azumi said the nation “would like to continue with that cooperation.”

Greece needs private investors to agree by March 8 to write down debt so the nation can receive a 130 billion-euro bailout. The nation expects bondholders to accept the offer and is ready to force them to participate if necessary, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Athens this week.

The EFSF, designed to finance rescue packages for Greece, Ireland and Portugal, was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s in January to AA+ from AAA after the ratings company cut its assessments of France and Austria, two of the guarantor nations.

In an EFSF sale on Feb. 21, Japan bought 100 million euros of 1.99 billion euros of bonds, or 5 percent of the total, the Japanese official said at the time.

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