Japan Finance Minister: Expect BOJ to pursue inflation target with appropriate policies

By Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said on Tuesday he expects the Bank of Japan to conduct monetary policy appropriately and work with the government to achieve inflation target while taking into account “the economy, prices and financial conditions”.

Suzuki, speaking at a regular news conference, declined to comment on remarks by BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda made in a media interview on the weekend that had hinted at a gradual move away from negative interest rates and ultra-loose monetary policy.

“Specific monetary policy conduct is up to the BOJ to decide,” Suzuki said.

“I expect the BOJ to continue to liaise with the government closely and conduct monetary policy appropriately, while taking the economy, prices and financial conditions into account, to achieve its price stability target in a stable and sustainable way.”

Japanese long-term rates spiked on Monday to their highest in nine years and eight months on expectation that the BOJ could shift away from its negative rate policy, following Ueda’s remarks in an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun.

The yen also rose sharply against the dollar on Monday after Ueda said on Saturday the central bank could end its negative interest rate policy when achievement of its 2% inflation target is in sight, signaling possible interest rate hikes.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)