Japan buys 13% of eurozone rescue fund sale

Japan has purchased 13 percent of the eurozone rescue fund's latest bond sale, a government official said Wednesday, as the region continues fundraising to help contain its sovereign debt crisis.

The Japanese government bought 260 million euros ($338 million) of the three-month bills, or 13 percent of the 1.972 billion euros raised by the bailout fund, the official said.

Data published by Germany's Bundesbank showed there was strong demand for the debt issued by the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).

The sale was oversubscribed by more than three times with investors bidding a total 6.286 billion euros, the German central bank said.

Japan bought 10 percent, or 300 million euros worth of an earlier sale in November, lower than the average 20 percent it purchased in three other bond sales from the start of the year.

The four previous sales comprised medium and long-term bonds while the latest issue was short-term bills.

Tokyo has voiced concern over the deepening crisis with worries it will dent the country's fragile economic recovery following Japan's devastating March quake and tsunami. Europe is a key export market for Japanese products.

The 440-billion-euro rescue fund was created last year to protect vulnerable eurozone nations after Greece was bailed out by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

The eurozone wanted to boost the firepower of the EFSF to one trillion euros in case bigger economies such as Italy and Spain need bailouts, but officials have acknowledged that due to the worsening of the debt crisis they will fall well short of the target.

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