Japan, concerned about the rising yen, was closely monitoring the currency markets on Thursday, Finance Minister Jun Azumi said. Azumi\'s comment suggested the possibility of intervention in the currency markets to stem the yen appreciation, a source of concern to the Japanese government, as a higher yen will make Japanese goods more expensive in importing countries, thus hurting its export-dependent economy. Japan was awaiting the outcome of the negotiations on the European sovereign debt crisis, Kyodo News reported. Azumi told reporters Japan welcomes the agreement on a bank recapitalization plan in Europe and hoped European leaders would work out specific numbers in their follow-up meetings, the report said. The Japanese yen has been trading below the 76 level to the U.S. dollar since last week, hitting a post-World War II high of 75.71 yen to the dollar Wednesday. The dollar was trading slightly over 76 yen Thursday. In recent days, Japan has been indicating the yen appreciation may lead to an intervention into currency markets as well as additional monetary easing to make the yen less attractive to traders. Azumi had earlier warned short-term investors against \"speculative\" and \"one- sided\" currency trading to achieve quick profits. Some experts have blamed the dollar\'s decline against the yen on speculators taking advantage of investor concerns about the economic turmoil in the United States and Europe. The Japanese government feels the continuing yen appreciation could affect the country\'s economic recovery from the March 11 earthquake-tsunami devastation.