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Yen slips in Asia on Japan minister's remarks

The yen eased on Thursday after a Japanese minister reportedly said his recent comments about the unit being too weak -- which had sparked a sharp rise -- had been misinterpreted.

The dollar recouped earlier losses against the Japanese currency, rising to 88.72 yen from with 88.37 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon.

The euro bought 117.86 yen from 117.42 yen, while the single currency was flat at $1.3286.

On Tuesday, the yen jumped after economic revitalisation minister Akira Amari warned the currency's sharp decline could hit consumers by making imported goods more expensive.

But Amari told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that his comments has been taken out of context.

"My view is that the currency market is still in a phase of correcting from excessive yen strength," Amari was quoted as saying. "That was the case back then, and is the case now."

The yen has seen a sharp decline as new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power last month promising huge spending and calling for aggressive central bank easing to boost the economy.

The Bank of Japan will hold a policy meeting early next week, with expectations it will unveil a further loosening of monetary policy.

However, dampening euro sentiment was a report this week quoting Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the eurozone finance ministers' group and Luxembourg's prime minister, saying the currency was "dangerously" overvalued.

But the warning may have been tempered slightly by the International Monetary Fund Wednesday unblocking 3.2 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in aid for Greece, part of a long-delayed rescue package.

Helping the dollar was the US Federal Reserve's Beige Book survey on Wednesday that showed the world's biggest economy has picked up pace since November.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies, falling to 40.62 Philippine pesos from 40.66 pesos on Wednesday, to 1,058.11 South Korean won from 1,058.73 won and to 54.63 Indian rupees from 54.82 rupees.

The greenback also slipped to Sg$1.2244 against Sg$1.2247 and to 9,710 Indonesian rupiah from 9,715 rupiah while it was flat at Tw$28.98 and 29.86 Thai baht.

The Australian dollar edged down to $1.0510 from $1.0549, while China's yuan changed hands at 14.25 yen against 14.14 yen.