Leika Kihara
For Leika Kihara's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
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.
The Tokyo core consumer price index rose 2.8% in August from a year earlier, slowing for the second straight month but remaining well above the central bank's 2% target.
BUSINESS / Economy
Aug 25, 2023
Inflation in Tokyo slowed in August but stayed above BOJ target
The Tokyo core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food but includes fuel costs, rose 2.8% in August from a year earlier.
Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda speaks to reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Prime Minister's Office in Tokyo on Tuesday.
BUSINESS / Economy
Aug 22, 2023
BOJ's Ueda meets Kishida but says yen volatility wasn't discussed
The talks took place after the dollar's recent ascent above ¥145, a level that last September triggered Japan's first yen-buying operation since 1998.
Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda speaks during a news conference, following the central bank's policy meeting, on July 28.
Aug 7, 2023
BOJ debated chance of sustained inflation at July meeting
The central bank's upbeat view on the inflation outlook suggests they are now more convinced that conditions for phasing out stimulus could fall in place.
The Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo. BOJ Deputy Gov. Shinichi Uchida has said there is still a long way to go before conditions fall into place for the bank to raise its short-term interest rate target.
Aug 2, 2023
BOJ tweak not prelude to ultralow rates exit: deputy governor
Shinichi Uchida said there is still a long way to go before the BOJ can raise its short-term interest rate target from the current minus 0.1%.
International Monetary Fund chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas
BUSINESS / Economy
Jul 26, 2023
IMF urges BOJ to move away from yield control and prepare for future tightening
The remarks came ahead of the BOJ's meeting on Friday, where the board will release price forecasts and debate whether to adjust policy.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at a meeting of the government's top economic council on Thursday.
BUSINESS / Economy
Jul 20, 2023
Japan cuts growth forecast and projects inflation over 2% BOJ target
The estimates come ahead of a Bank of Japan policy meeting next week, set to be closely watched amid market expectations the bank will soon phase out its massive stimulus program.
Japan Times
Jul 12, 2023
Japan households' inflation expectations rise, keeping pressure on BOJ
The ratio of Japanese households expecting prices to rise a year from now stood at 86.3% in June, up from 85.7% in March to hit the highest level since June 2022, the BOJ survey showed.
Japan Times
Jul 10, 2023
BOJ highlights broadening wage and price hikes in report on regional Japan
In a quarterly report, the central bank also said some firms were considering raising the prices of their goods and services to guard against the prospect of rising labor costs.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Markets
Jul 4, 2023
Tokyo in constant dialogue with U.S. and others on currencies, finance minister says
The remarks likely signal Tokyo's desire to keep the market on guard about possible currency intervention to prop up the yen, which has been hovering near ¥145 to the dollar.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Economy
Jul 3, 2023
Improving Japan business mood signals steady economic recovery
Companies expect to increase capital expenditure and project inflation to stay above the Bank of Japan's 2% target five years ahead, the quarterly tankan showed.
Japan Times
May 31, 2023
BOJ's Ueda says era of low global interest rates may be over
Some academics say global inflationary pressure may eventually subside, but others warn the current period of high inflation will change people's view on prices, Ueda added.
Japan Times
May 26, 2023
Inflation in Tokyo slows in May, but key gauge hits four-decade high
The data showed firms continued to pass on rising costs to households in a sign inflationary pressure could last longer than the BOJ projects.
Japan Times
May 15, 2023
Japan's top economic officials debate whether sustained exit from deflation is near
With inflation accelerating globally and wage growth picking up in Japan, discussions also touched on the desirable timing to end the Bank of Japan's ultraloose monetary policy.


Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?