• Kyodo News

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The Bank of Japan said Thursday it purchased ¥112.05 million in shares from banks in the first 10 days of March.

The central bank said it would resume purchasing bank-held shares at market prices Feb. 23 in a bid to reduce banks’ risks accompanying a stock market decline. At the end of February, it reported that there were no purchases.

Banks might have hesitated to sell shareholdings as sales at recent stock price levels are expected to bring about real capital losses, industry sources said.

The BOJ plans to purchase up to ¥1 trillion in shares from banks with shareholdings exceeding ¥500 billion by the end of April 2010. Listed shares with BBB-minus or higher ratings are eligible to be bought by the central bank.

The BOJ acquired some ¥2 trillion in bank-held shares for the same purpose between November 2002 and September 2004 and later sold them gradually. At present, it has frozen their sales.

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