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The Bank of Japan Policy Board agreed Tuesday to maintain the central bank’s current easy monetary policy, bank officials said.

The decision was made by a majority vote of the board’s nine members; it was the fifth meeting in a row at which the policymaking board failed to reach a consensus on the issue.

The central bank is caught in a dilemma over whether to further ease its monetary policy and boost the economy or maintain it and keep the yen’s depreciation from accelerating. The BOJ’s official discount rate is already at a historic low of 0.5 percent.

The conflict over the official discount rate first arose at a policy board meeting June 12, at which two members urged the board to take an even easier stance in light of the current economic situation.

According to the minutes of that meeting, Toshiyuki Nakahara and Toshio Miki — both board members selected from the business sector — opposed a proposal by board chairman and BOJ Gov. Masaru Hayami that the central bank encourage the unsecured overnight call money rate to remain, on average, slightly below the 0.5 percent official discount rate.

At that meeting and the following June 25 gathering, Nakahara put forward a proposal to establish a numerical target for the unsecured overnight call money rate by slightly easing the target to around 0.4 percent, according to the minutes.

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