[TOKYO] Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the bank has various tools left if it were to ease monetary policy again, stressing its determination to hit its inflation target in the next fiscal year. "There are plenty of ways to adjust monetary policy," Mr Kuroda said in an interview with the Mainichi daily that ran on Thursday, reiterating that the BOJ was ready to expand stimulus again if needed to meet its 2 per cent price target.
Mr Kuroda ruled out the possibility of watering down the bank's commitment to hit its inflation target in the fiscal year beginning in April, a move which has been advocated by some BOJ policymakers who believe the target to be too ambitious. "If the BOJ loosens its commitment just because it's difficult to achieve the price target, that in itself will make it impossible to meet the price target," he said.
In October, the BOJ unexpectedly expanded the massive stimulus programme which it launched in April 2013, under which it buys government bonds and risky assets aggressively in a bid to end 15 years of grinding deflation.
Mr Kuroda has voiced confidence that Japan will see inflation hit 2 per cent as targeted in 2015. But many analysts, and even some within the BOJ board, are sceptical as slumping oil prices have recently slowed consumer inflation to below 1 per cent.
Economists polled by Reuters in November believe the BOJ will fall well short of its 2 per cent inflation goal despite the latest easing and may have to offer additional stimulus.