Weaken the yen: That has been a desperate plea by the captains of Japanese industry for years as the strong currency has hurt such exporters as Sony and Toyota. Reversing the yen’s rise was a major goal of Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe during his successful campaign against incumbent Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda last month.
Sure enough, now that Abe is prime minister, the yen has weakened. A lot. With the government promising a big new spending program and the central bank expanding its quantitative easing policy, Japan’s currency on Jan. 18 hit a two-and-a-half-year low of ¥90.10 to the dollar. Since mid-November, when the election season got underway and an LDP victory became a near certainty, the yen has weakened by 10 percent.