Bank of Japan decision-makers discussed further monetary easing steps, such as buying government bonds with longer maturities, at the Policy Board meeting chaired March 6 and 7 by then-Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa, the minutes showed Tuesday.

Among other options raised by the board members were lowering the interest rate on excess bank reserves at the BOJ and expanding the purchase of risky assets such as exchange-traded funds, according to the minutes.

"The time might be approaching for the bank to reconsider" the framework for monetary easing, one member opined.