Toshihiko Fukui, the governor of the Bank of Japan, startled his audience during a Tokyo seminar in late 2004 by suggesting that Japan should revisit the idea, popular during the 1980s, of promoting the yen as the key currency for East Asia and thus as a candidate for becoming a global reserve and transaction currency. Many, including one senior finance ministry official, thought this suggestion bizarre and suggested that Fukui's idea was one whose "time had come and gone 20 years ago."
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