Japan's Ministry of Finance said on Monday it will auction off modern gold coins from its collection through the Internet next February.
Some 2,445 coins will be sold on a Yahoo Japan Corp. site from February 3-19, the ministry said.
The MOF holds some 32,683 modern gold coins, which it plans to sell off by March 2008. A floor auction in October sold 1,037 coins, reaping some 561.82 million yen ($4.83 million).
The MOF has said the series of auctions would raise several billion yen, which will go to the government's general account budget to help reduce Japan's mountain of public debt.
But sales from the auctions would still be minuscule compared with the outstanding public sector debt, which is expected to total 770 trillion yen at the end of next March, about 150 percent of gross domestic product.
Precious metals, including gold and silver coins and bars, that were held by the Japanese government and private sector were temporarily confiscated by Occupation forces after World War Two. They were returned to the government in 1952 and kept in its general account.
Since 1959, the state has returned the metals that belonged to the private sector and has been selling its own holdings. In 1977, the ministry sold its gold bullion to the Bank of Japan. In 1982 it sold ancient silver and gold coins to the public.