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BOJ Policy Board minutes expose discord over consumer price rises

JIJI

Bank of Japan policymakers had conflicting views on the outlook for consumer prices, according to the minutes of their April 30 meeting.

In its semiannual report released April 30, the BOJ said the consumer price index is likely to hit the central bank’s 2 percent inflation target around fiscal 2015, in the middle of its projection target period from fiscal 2014 to 2016.

Three of the nine members of the Policy Board questioned this projection, the minutes, released Monday, show.

One of the three, Takahide Kiuchi, insisted that the rate of inflation is expected to remain generally stable around current levels over time, hovering at between 1 percent and 1.5 percent.

Sayuri Shirai said the 2 percent inflation rate is likely to be achieved toward the end of the projection period.

Takehiro Sato said the BOJ should warn of the risk of price declines in a more explicit manner.

Also during their meeting, many Policy Board members pointed out that prices “had exhibited a greater tendency to rise” due to the tightening labor market.

Some board members welcomed moves by many companies to resume annual pay scale increases.