The Bank of Japan voted on July 16 to stick to its near-zero interest rate policy on grounds that deflationary pressure has not dissipated, according to minutes of the board meeting released Tuesday.

The nine-member board headed by BOJ Gov. Masaru Hayami voted 7-2 to maintain its policy of pushing the overnight call money rate close to zero during the meeting.

The bank officials have said that the bank will continue the easy monetary policy until the threat of deflation is gone. The policy, decided in February, has allowed banks to raise short-term funds effectively for free.

At the meeting, Eiko Shinotsuka objected to the majority decision, saying that the zero interest policy has served its purpose and is now showing side effects. She proposed raising the overnight call money rate to around 0.25 percent. The proposal was rejected 8-1.

Nobuyuki Nakahara also voted against continuing the policy, calling for further monetary easing. His proposal was also rejected 8-1.

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