Most Japanese want BOJ policy review on weak yen: poll

A poll showed more than half of Japanese want the Bank of Japan's (BOJ's) ultra-easy monetary policy reviewed as the yen struggles close to a three-decade low against the US dollar, worsening inflation on essential imports. 

In a national survey carried out Saturday (Oct 22) and Sunday, the Mainichi newspaper found 55 per cent of respondents said that BOJ policy should be reviewed, 22 per cent said it should not and 22 per cent said that they didn't know. The poll comes as BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda has consistently said he will keep his current stance, even as inflation hits its highest levels since 1991. 

Disapproval of monetary policy could add to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's woes, as support for his cabinet sinks over a perceived failure to tackle his party's links with the Unification Church, which has a long list of court judgments against it over its fundraising. 

Kishida's economy minister, Daishiro Yamagiwa, has stepped down from his post after being grilled in parliament about his links to the group. The minister had become a lightning rod for criticism in a scandal that has prompted Kishida's approval rating to plummet.

The poll put support for the Kishida cabinet at 27 per cent, down two percentage points on the previous poll, and in the danger zone under 30 per cent where Japanese leaders are considered at risk of replacement. 

While opposition parties have struggled to capitalise on his woes, support for the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party rose slightly to 12 per cent, compared with 24 per cent for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Some 32 per cent of respondents said they didn't support any party. 

Kuroda is expected to keep monetary stimulus unchanged at the end of a two-day BOJ meeting on Friday, according to a poll of 49 analysts. 

Kishida, who has been in office for a little more than a year, has so far opted to deal with price rises by intervening in the market to support the yen and providing handouts to combat the effects on households and businesses. 

The premier is set to announce details of the latest support package, which is expected to come out this week and include what Kishida has called "unprecedented" help with soaring fuel bills. The government is considering spending more than 20 trillion yen (S$190 billion) on the package, Kyodo News said on Friday. 

Asked about his efforts thus far on inflation, 75 per cent of respondents to the survey said they didn't rate them highly, while 11 per cent said they approved.  BLOOMBERG

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