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Aso hedges on 2% inflation target

Kyodo

Finance Minister Taro Aso on Friday cast doubt on whether the Bank of Japan wil be able to achieve its 2 percent inflation target in two years’ time, as pledged by the central bank’s new leaders.

“I believe that it will take considerable time to get out of deflation and move toward inflation, and then push up (prices) to 2 percent,” Aso said at a news conference.

Aso said the government must promote fiscal stimulus and growth strategies to attain the inflation target, adding it is “wrong” to put responsibility for the price goal on the BOJ alone.

Two of the three new BOJ Policy Board members who took office Wednesday — Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda and Deputy Gov. Kikuo Iwata — have promised to achieve the 2 percent inflation goal within two years.

The price target, aimed at ending the country’s chronic deflation and shoring up the economy, was set in a joint statement issued by the BOJ and the government in January.

Aso said during a Diet session Thursday, “To be honest, I’m skeptical whether (prices can rise to 2 percent) within two years so easily.”