The Bank of Japan is highly unlikely to deepen its negative interest rate without a fresh economic crisis on a massive scale, according to former board member Makoto Sakurai, whose term ended last month.

"The BOJ didn’t lower rates” even at the height of the pandemic shock last year in March, Sakurai said in his first interview since leaving the central bank two weeks ago. "The kind of historic crisis needed to trigger a cut very rarely takes place.”

Sakurai, who was seen as a core supporter of Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda on the nine-person board, also said the introduction of new lending incentives at last month’s policy review hasn’t pushed the bank any closer to taking action on rates.