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Japan Offers IMF $100 Billion to Fight Financial Crisis

Japan is offering to lend up to $100 billion to the International Monetary Fund to help nations hit hard by the global financial crisis.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso announced the IMF loan offer Friday before joining Group of 20 world leaders in Washington to discuss how to tackle the economic turmoil. Japan has almost $1 trillion of foreign currency reserves it can draw upon to support the IMF.

The IMF recently provided emergency loans to Iceland, Hungary and Ukraine worth more than $30 billion to support their ailing financial systems.

Mr. Aso also called Friday for reforming the IMF's governing structure to better reflect the importance of emerging economies.

A spokesman for Mr. Aso said the Japanese prime minister also is urging world leaders to learn from Japan's efforts to recover from its own financial crisis of the 1990s.

Spokesman Kazuo Kodak said Mr. Aso believes banks should be required to fully disclose their bad loans and should be given help to remove those loans from their balance sheets.

In another development, the finance ministers of Japan, China and South Korea have agreed that their countries should play what they call a "pivotal role" in stabilizing Asia's economy. The ministers met Friday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Washington.

The finance chiefs said in a joint statement that they will consider increasing the size of currency swap arrangements among their nations. South Korea is seeking to gain access to more dollars after its currency, the won, recently came under heavy selling pressure.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.