TOKYO, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Naoto Kan said on Friday that the markets should decide currency levels.

But he also said the government needs to pay heed to companies, who calculate exchange rate estimates when doing business.

If currency levels deviate sharply from the estimates, that could have various effects on the economy, Kan, also deputy prime minister, told a news conference after a cabinet meeting.

Kan called on Thursday for a weaker yen and said he would work with the Bank of Japan to achieve an appropriate exchange rate level, prompting a sharp slide in the currency against the dollar. [ID:nTOE60607E]

Kan has taken over as finance minister from 77-year-old Hirohisa Fujii, who stepped down due to health reasons. (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto)