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A Bank of Japan policymaker has pointed to the need for the central bank to extend its novel coronavirus measures, which are currently set to expire at the end of March next year.

In a recent interview, Toyoaki Nakamura, a member of the central bank’s Policy Board, said, “While I thought that the coronavirus pandemic would settle down, the ‘third wave’ of infections is quite big.”

Toyoaki Nakamura | KYODO
Toyoaki Nakamura | KYODO

On the COVID-19 measures introduced in and after March by the BOJ, including cash flow support measures for companies, Nakamura said, “It would be difficult for us to end the measures in March (2021).”

Nakamura also said that the BOJ does not need to expand such measures at the current moment.

He added, however, that “the economy tends to change significantly if something big happens.” Nakamura suggested that the BOJ would discuss actions flexibly, based on the infection situation.

Earlier this month, the BOJ announced a policy to tack on an additional interest rate for current account deposits at the central bank for regional banks that are working on improving their finances through mergers and other measures.

Regional banks “don’t (necessarily) have to merge with” other financial institutions, Nakamura said, voicing his hopes for an improvement in operation efficiency at regional financial institutions also through loose cooperation and other means.

On the nation’s economy and prices, AANakamura said that the country “has built up psychological resistance” to the virus situation and that economic activities are gradually picking up.

“The BOJ, like other central banks around the world, has been actively pursuing monetary policies and an easy state (of the money market) has been maintained,” Nakamura said.

On issues relating to monetary policies, including those for the world after the pandemic, Nakamura said that the BOJ will need to support macroeconomic environment so that structural reforms will not be delayed.

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