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Leika Kihara
For Leika Kihara's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
A Bank of Japan survey on firms nationwide showed that many of them do not expect to be able to hire enough workers if they keep wage growth low, and see an economy where wages and inflation rise in tandem as more favorable.
BUSINESS / Companies
May 20, 2024
Japan's manufacturers want BOJ to keep yen stable, survey shows
The survey on roughly 2,500 firms underscores the importance they place on yen moves in assessing the impact of monetary policy.
People walk near the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo on April 26.
BUSINESS / Economy
May 10, 2024
BOJ must avoid raising rates to combat weak yen, says ex-official
Higher borrowing costs would hit consumption and services inflation, said Tsutomu Watanabe, an expert on price trends.
Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda speaks during a news conference after a two-day monetary policy meeting at the BOJ headquarters in Tokyo on April 26.
BUSINESS
May 9, 2024
Many BOJ board members saw need for steady rate hikes in April, records show
Some saw the chance of a faster-than-expected pace of interest rate hikes on prospects of inflation durably staying or exceeding the bank's 2% target.
Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda holds a news conference after a policy meeting at the BOJ's headquarters in Tokyo on March 19.
BUSINESS / Economy
May 2, 2024
BOJ saw need to let markets drive yields upon March exit: minutes
The bank ended eight years of negative interest rates and its bond yield control at its March policy meeting.
Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki speaks during a meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and South Korean Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok on the sidelines of IMF and G20 meetings in Washington last week.
BUSINESS / Markets
Apr 23, 2024
Tokyo issues strong warning on yen intervention as currency dips further
Comments by Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki came after the dollar rose to ¥154.85, its strongest levels against the Japanese currency since 1990.
Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki (from left), U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and South Korean Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok hold a trilateral meeting at the Treasury Department in Washington on Wednesday.
BUSINESS / Markets / ANALYSIS
Apr 20, 2024
Political heat prods Japan and South Korea to team up on weak currencies
The matter is all the more urgent with Middle East tensions threatening to push up oil prices and accelerate cost pressures.
Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda speaks at a news conference in Washington on Thursday alongside Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki.
BUSINESS / Markets
Apr 19, 2024
BOJ's Ueda signals possible rate hike if weak yen boosts inflation
The BOJ will scrutinize how the yen's declines so far this year could affect the economy and prices, Ueda said.
Bank of Japan board member Asahi Noguchi says the pace of future rate hikes will likely be much slower that of the central bank's global peers.
BUSINESS / Economy
Apr 18, 2024
BOJ rate hikes likely to be slower than those of peers, says board member
Asahi Noguchi, known for his dovish policy views, said the impact of rising domestic wages had yet be fully passed on into prices.
Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki (left), U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (center) and South Korean Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok meet on the sidelines of International Monetary Fund and Group of 20 meetings, at the U.S. Treasury in Washington on Wednesday.
BUSINESS / Economy
Apr 18, 2024
U.S. nods to concerns from Japan and South Korea over slumping currencies
Washington's acknowledgement of concerns may lay the groundwork for intervention, some analysts said.
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
BUSINESS / Economy / FOCUS
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.
BUSINESS
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.

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