Leika Kihara
For Leika Kihara's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda said Friday that the BOJ will examine the possibility of easing measures when price targets are met.
BUSINESS / Economy
Feb 16, 2024
BOJ's Ueda maintains pledge to review stimulus when inflation goal met
Data released on Thursday showed Japan's economy unexpectedly slipped into a recession in the final quarter of last year.
The Bank of Japan signed a joint statement with the government in 2013 committing itself to achieve its 2% inflation target "at the earliest date possible."
BUSINESS / Economy
Feb 6, 2024
Japan's inflation goal still needed even if negative rates end: official
Chief government economist Tomoko Hayashi says any shift in BOJ policy would not alter the importance of the 2% inflation target.
Shigeru Ishiba, a heavyweight in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, says the Bank of Japan should immediately end its negative interest rate policy.
BUSINESS / Economy
Jan 30, 2024
Dark-horse prime minister candidate calls for ending BOJ's negative rate policy
An outspoken Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker, Shigeru Ishiba consistently ranks among favorites to become the next prime minister in opinion polls.
Masato Kanda, vice finance minister for international affairs, is closely watching how an expected end to negative interest rates in Japan affect markets.
BUSINESS / Markets
Jan 25, 2024
Top forex diplomat vigilant over market impact from BOJ stimulus exit
As vice finance minister for international affairs, Masato Kanda oversees currency policy.
Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda speaks during a news conference at the central bank's headquarters in Tokyo on Dec. 19.
BUSINESS / Economy
Jan 11, 2024
OECD urges Bank of Japan to gradually raise interest rates
The central bank should thus continue efforts to make the yield curve control more flexible, the organization said.
The Bank of Japan board member Toyoaki Nakamura says more time is needed before the bank phases out its massive stimulus.
BUSINESS / Economy
Nov 30, 2023
BOJ policymaker says more time needed before easing can be curbed
While a continued economic recovery and tight labor market hold promise for wage growth, inflation continues to suppress down real wages.
A Bank of Japan survey shows that the services producer price index rose 2.3% in October from a year earlier.
BUSINESS / Economy
Nov 27, 2023
Corporate service inflation rise signals broadening price pressures
The services producer price index, which measures the price companies charge each other for services, rose 2.3% in October from a year earlier.
Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda speaks at a news conference following the central bank's policy meeting on Oct. 31.
BUSINESS / Economy
Nov 9, 2023
BOJ debated groundwork for future easy-policy exit at meeting
The October discussions highlight how the central bank is looking to exit its decade-long accommodative regime.
Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda addresses business leaders in Nagoya on Monday.
Nov 6, 2023
BOJ chief sees inflation progress but warns of uncertainty
Japan's economy is likely to continue recovering, but the outlook was "extremely uncertain," Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda said.
The Tokyo core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes volatile fresh food but includes fuel costs, rose 2.7% in October from a year earlier, exceeding market forecasts for a 2.5% gain.
BUSINESS / Economy
Oct 27, 2023
BOJ in focus as core inflation in Tokyo unexpectedly accelerates
The data reinforces expectations the BOJ will revise up its inflation forecasts when it produces fresh quarterly projections at next week's meeting.
Fruit and vegetables for sale at the entrance to a supermarket in a shopping precinct in Tokyo on Oct. 7.
BUSINESS / Economy
Oct 20, 2023
Japan's core inflation slows below 3% for first time in over a year
The rate has tracked above the Bank of Japan's 2% target for 18 straight months.
The Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo. The central bank is likely to discuss raising its inflation projection for fiscal year 2023 and 2024 at its policy meeting later this month.
Oct 18, 2023
BOJ seen lifting inflation forecasts as pressure on policy grows
Central bank is also seen upgrading its forecast for 2024 from the current 1.9%, to at or above 2.0%.
Hiroshi Watanabe, former Japanese currency policy chief and onetime head of  the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, speaks during an interview in Tokyo.
Oct 15, 2023
IMF warning on China puts 'Japanization' risk in spotlight
Stalling inflation and a deepening real estate crisis were said to be among the biggest risks to global growth during a recent IMF and World Bank meeting.
An electric monitor displays the yen exchange rate against the U.S. dollar and the Nikkei share average outside a brokerage in Tokyo on Wednesday.
BUSINESS / Economy
Oct 6, 2023
Japan's re-defined intervention trigger may slow yen bears
The new interpretation of "excessive" yen volatility is aimed at keeping investors on guard rather than lowering the threshold for intervention.
Japan bought yen in September 2022, its first foray in the market to boost its currency since 1998, after a Bank of Japan decision to maintain an ultraloose monetary policy drove the yen as low as ¥145 per dollar.
Oct 2, 2023
What intervention by Japan to stem yen weakness could look like
Aside from verbal intervention, the government has several options to stem what it considers excessive yen falls.
A rebound in auto output and falling raw material costs helped lift Japan's business sentiment in the third quarter.
BUSINESS / Economy
Oct 2, 2023
Japan's business mood improves as economic revival continues
The tankan survey suggests conditions for the BOJ to phase out its massive stimulus could fall into place, even as policymakers remain cautious.
Kazuo Ueda, governor of the Bank of Japan, speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on Sept. 22.
BUSINESS / Markets
Sep 30, 2023
Concern over losses won't affect monetary decision, BOJ chief says
Gov. Kazuo Ueda also said there was "still a distance to go" before the BOJ exits ultraloose monetary policy.
People make their way through Tokyo's Ameyoko shopping district. In a sign rising inflation is already taking a toll on consumption, Japan's household spending suffered its biggest drop in nearly 2½ years in July.
Sep 7, 2023
China's economic gloom hangs over Japan's long-awaited recovery
If Beijing fails to shore up demand with meaningful stimulus, that could potentially delay an exit from the Bank of Japan's ultraloose monetary policy.
Hajime Takata, a member of the policy board at the Bank of Japan
BUSINESS / Economy
Sep 6, 2023
BOJ policymaker sees signs of change in deflationary mindset
Conditions for phasing out the bank's massive stimulus seem to be falling into place, central bank policymaker Hajime Takata said.
Bank of Japan board member Toyoaki Nakamura says it is uncertain whether smaller companies can earn enough profits to keep hiking wages next year and beyond.
BUSINESS / Economy
Aug 31, 2023
BOJ policymaker warns against premature monetary tightening
Tightening monetary policy before rising prices are accompanied by higher wages would hurt domestic demand and corporate profits, Toyoaki Nakamura said.


Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves