Leika Kihara
For Leika Kihara's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki says authorities are watching exchange-rate moves closely and won't rule out any options.
BUSINESS / Economy
Apr 9, 2024
Japan warns against excessive volatility as yen slides near fresh lows
The yen briefly hit ¥151.840 to the dollar, within striking distance of the 34-year low of ¥151.975 marked last month.
A seafood restaurant at Tsukiji Outer Market in Tokyo. In a proposal to the government's top economic council, the panel urged policy changes in the face of rising domestic prices and interest rates, as well as wage growth at a 30-year high as companies face job shortages.
BUSINESS / Economy
Apr 2, 2024
Japan panel calls for shift away from stimulus-driven economy
The panel urged policy changes amid rising domestic prices and interest rates, as well as wage growth at a 30-year high as companies face job shortages.
Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda (center) and Deputy Govs. Ryozo Himino (left) and Shinichi Uchida (right) attend a news conference at the bank headquarters in Tokyo in April 2023
Mar 20, 2024
How the Bank of Japan's plan for a smooth stimulus exit unfolded
The decision was complicated by differences between BOJ Gov. Kazuo Ueda's two deputies, as well as the governor's wavering on the exit timing.
Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda said consumption was weakening for food and daily necessities amid higher prices.
BUSINESS / Economy
Mar 12, 2024
BOJ chief Kazuo Ueda slightly tones down optimism on economy
Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda said consumption was weakening for food and daily necessities amid higher prices.
Kazuo Ueda, governor of the Bank of Japan, speaks at a fintech summit in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Mar 8, 2024
Bank of Japan leaning toward exiting negative rates in March
Many BOJ policymakers are closely watching the outcome of big firms' annual wage negotiations with unions on March 13.
Junko Nakagawa, a member of the policy board at the Bank of Japan (BOJ), in Tokyo in January
BUSINESS / Economy
Mar 7, 2024
BOJ policymaker upbeat on stimulus exit amid encouraging wage news
"We can say that prospects for the economy to achieve a positive cycle of (rising) inflation and wages are in sight," said board member Junko Nakagawa.
Masato Kanda, vice finance minister for international affairs (right), and Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda (center) attend a G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.
BUSINESS / Markets
Feb 29, 2024
Japan issues fresh warning against excessive yen moves
The warning by Masato Kanda, Japan's vice finance minister for international affairs, likely reflects Tokyo's desire to prevent further falls in the yen.
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.


Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on