• Kyodo

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Economic and fiscal policy minister Seiji Maehara said Tuesday he will attend the Bank of Japan’s policy meeting again next week, as the government presses the BOJ to keep easing monetary policy to help jump-start an economy mired in deflation.

“I definitely want to join” the Policy Board meeting next Tuesday, schedule permitting, Maehara told reporters.

“I have asked the BOJ to promote powerful monetary easing, and I will continue to ask,” he said.

Government pressure on the BOJ was added to by Finance Minister Koriki Jojima, who separately told a news conference: “The government and the BOJ have agreed it is important to beat deflation. We expect the BOJ to keep closely cooperating with the government and proceed with decisive monetary easing.”

The comments came amid growing speculation among financial market participants that the BOJ could decide to inject additional liquidity into the banking system and support economic activity through its asset-purchase program.

While the BOJ is widely expected to buy more risky assets, such as investment trusts from financial institutions, to facilitate fundraising by companies, a newspaper reported the government has urged the bank to expand the program to ¥100 trillion from the current ¥80 trillion.

Jojima denied the report, saying, “That’s not the case,” while Maehara, who has increasingly intervened verbally in BOJ affairs, declined to comment specifically on the report.

Earlier this month, Maehara became the first Cabinet minister to join a session of the BOJ’s decision-making Policy Board since 2003. The nine-member board left policy unchanged at the Oct. 4-5 meeting.

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