The Japanese government once again has answered the prayers of its automakers.
After months of clamoring by exporters, Japan's Finance Ministry took action to rein in the yen's yearlong surge against the dollar -- making life a lot better for companies that export cars from Japan to the United States.
On Tuesday, Sept. 14, the yen jumped to a 15-year high against the greenback on speculation that re-elected Prime Minister Naoto Kan didn't have the spine to slow the currency's climb. But by the next morning the government was confirming what many had hoped for: It had intervened in foreign exchange markets to sell the yen and push it down against the dollar.
After trading at 82.87 yen on the 14th, the dollar suddenly rose to 85 yen by the afternoon of the 15th. Investors approved; Tokyo's Nikkei stock index jumped 2.3 percent.
Honda could barely contain its elation and even released a statement saying, "From the standpoint of aiding the competitiveness of Japan's manufacturing industry, we applaud the move by the government and the Bank of Japan to correct the yen's strength."