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With its reluctance to add to record monetary stimulus even as inflation remains well below its target, the Bank of Japan has stoked speculation about it scaling back its asset purchases as soon as early 2016.

Economists in recent weeks have been re-examining the BOJ’s stated goal of keeping its “quantitative and qualitative” easing program as long as needed to maintain stable 2 percent inflation. Barclays PLC analysts highlight that the pledge doesn’t specify continuing with the current pace of asset purchases.

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