The Bank of Japan has become used to being a policy outlier over its decades-long quest to vanquish deflation. It’s likely to be no different in 2024.

With inflation above the 2% target for more than a year and a half, Gov. Kazuo Ueda is widely expected to scrap the world’s last negative interest rate around the time when markets bet the U.S. Federal Reserve will start cutting.

"It’s now or never,” says Tsutomu Watanabe, a former BOJ official and among those floated as a possible candidate to lead the central bank earlier this year. "If Ueda is unable to normalize policy this time around, he will probably have to continue with monetary easing for the rest of his term.”