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The Bank of Japan said Thursday that it will retain its easy monetary policy, including its official discount rate at an all-time low of 0.5 percent, reflecting the first decision of its new policy board.

The decision on monetary policy by the nine-member board was unanimous, the bank said. It was seen as reflecting the deteriorating economy and concerns that higher interest rates would worsen the situation by increasing borrowing costs for businesses.

The meeting Thursday was the first since the new BOJ Law took effect April 1. The law aims to give the central bank independence from the government and increase transparency in its monetary policymaking. All nine board members with voting rights attended the 6 1/2-hour meeting, the longest since the meeting’s format was revised in January.

Finance Minister Hikaru Matsunaga, director general of the Economic Planning Agency, Koji Omi, and their subordinates attended part of the meeting. The two politicians can express their opinions but cannot vote.

The nine board members include three BOJ executives — Gov. Masaru Hayami and Senior Deputy Govs. Sakuya Fujiwara and Yutaka Yamaguchi. Kazuo Ueda, a former professor of economics at Tokyo University, was appointed Wednesday by the Cabinet to become the newest member.

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