CORRECTED-Japan finmin: govt wants to firm up its position on BOJ inflation target in Jan
target in Jan@ (Corrects to clarify that Aso said the government wants to firm up its position on an inflation target accord, not reach on agreement with the BOJ on the target, before the BOJ meeting)
TOKYO, Dec 28 (Reuters) - New Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Friday that he wants the government to firm up its position on an accord with the Bank of Japan over an increased inflation target before the central bank's next policy meeting in January, to attack the country's entrenched deflation.
Aso, speaking to a small group of reporters, also said Japanese authorities stood ready to act against speculators driving the yen up or down excessively, saying that such moves could cause difficulties for the world's third-largest economy.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government is pursuing a policy mix of aggressive monetary easing and heavy fiscal spending to beat deflation and weaken the yen, calling on the BOJ to adopt a 2 percent inflation target - double its current target.
Asked about the timing of a policy accord on the inflation target, Aso, a former prime minister, said it could come in January after the government maps out an extra stimulus budget and before the BOJ holds its next policy meeting on Jan. 21-22.
"It'll be clear how the government is responding (on the economy) when we compile an extra budget in January ... We must then consider (an accord) before the BOJ's policy meeting," Aso told reporters in a group interview.
The government will compile spending requests for a stimulus package on Jan. 7 and finalise the proposal shortly thereafter.
The BOJ eased policy last week, and has promised to debate setting a new price target at the Jan. 21-22 meeting.
The yen fell to its lowest level in more than two years versus the dollar on Friday, pressured by expectations that the new Japanese government will push the central bank into more aggressive monetary easing.
"If excessive rises or falls in the yen due to speculation cause trouble for a lot of people, intervention would be a powerful tool, so there's no reason why we would not use it," Aso said.
"Under the current situation where movements are gradual, I think it should basically be left to market mechanisms and fundamentals," he added.
Asked whether Japan's efforts to ease monetary policy and weaken the yen may lead to competitive currency devaluations, Aso said: "It's wrong to say Japan is intervening unreasonably."
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Edmund Klamann)