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Daniel Moss and Gearoid Reidy

Time to Believe Japan Is Accepting a Weak Yen

The country is learning to live with a soft currency. There’s not a lot of choice. 

It’s futile fighting a sinking yen.

It’s futile fighting a sinking yen.

Photographer: Toru Hanai/Bloomberg

Japan’s finance minister is adamant. He “absolutely” can’t condone excessive moves in the yen. Nobody is asking him to do otherwise. What the country can do — and has made an encouraging start toward — is accept prolonged weakness in its currency. There is little appetite to engineer a meaningfully different outcome. The wisdom of trying at this point would be questionable, too.

The magic number of 150 yen per dollar came and went on Thursday without fireworks. Traders are braced for intervention, but big hairy numbers have rarely meant as much in practice as they have in market lore. It matters more whether the yen crashes through rather than creeps across the line. The past few days have featured none of the drama that accompanied the first-in-a-generation yen purchases by the Bank of Japan last month.