Japan again says no to cutting interest rates

Japan has again rebuffed United States calls for a cut in its interest rates, saying they were already low enough. The Bank of Japan governor, Satoshi Sumita, told Japanese businessmen Thursday that he saw no need to cut interest rates now.

Japanese rates have already been reduced three times this year and, with the discount rate at 3.5 percent, are already at record low levels, he said. The discount rate is Japan's leading interest rate.

On Wednesday, US Treasury Secretary James Baker, responding to West Germany's and Japan's rejection of his call for lower interest rates, said the dollar would need to decline more as a result.

``Unless there are additional measures to promote higher growth abroad, there will need to be further exchange rate changes to reduce trade imbalances,'' he said.

Mr. Baker's comments sent the dollar skidding against both the West German mark and the Japanese yen on foreign-exchange markets.

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