Japan is closely watching volatility in foreign exchange markets and will respond appropriately to rapid movements, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said Friday, noting the yen has been depreciating significantly.

The remarks came after Suzuki was asked if Japanese authorities have a specific level in mind when it comes to currency intervention as the yen has been weakening toward the psychologically important 150 line relative to the U.S. dollar.

"It's not that we have a specific line of defense and we take some sort of action if (a certain dollar-yen level) is crossed. We are constantly watching volatility," Suzuki told a press conference after a Cabinet meeting.

"Given the current situation, I feel that the yen has been weakening significantly (against the dollar)," he added.

The yen has already slipped past the levels at which Japanese authorities previously stepped into the markets last year.

The yen's weakness reflects the diverging monetary policy paths of the Bank of Japan, which is deeply committed to ultralow interest rates, and the Federal Reserve, which has been hiking rates aggressively to tamp down inflation.

Suzuki has been issuing verbal warnings in recent days and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also said earlier in the week that currency moves should be stable and reflect economic fundamentals.

Financial markets are cautious about the possibility of another yen-buying, dollar-selling intervention to slow the yen's rapid declines. A series of verbal warnings often precede an actual intervention.

"There is no change in our stance that we will respond appropriately to rapid currency moves, without ruling out any options," Suzuki said.


Related coverage:

All options on table to counter excess currency moves: Japan finance chief

No options excluded in tackling forex volatility: finance chief

Japan warns of excessive currency moves, says all options on table