* One said BOJ should phase down pledge on bond buyinig
* A few said removing pledge would send wrong signal
* Debate at Nov. 1 meeting showed rift on new framework
(Adds detail, background)
By Leika Kihara
TOKYO, Dec 26 Bank of Japan policymakers
disagreed on how much emphasis the central bank should place on
the size of its bond purchases under a new framework targeting
interest rates, minutes of its Nov. 1 rate review showed,
highlighting the challenges of navigating the complex policy
The BOJ shifted its target from the pace of money printing
to interest rates under the new framework adopted in September.
It guides short-term interest rates at minus 0.1 percent and the
10-year government bond yield around zero percent.
But the central bank also maintained loose guidance that it
will continue buying government bonds so that the balance of its
holdings increases at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen ($682
billion), likely intended to appease board members who argued
that heavy money printing helps heighten inflation expectations.
At the two-day policy meeting that ended on Nov. 1, one
board member said the guidance on the bond buying amount could
gradually be phased down "over the course of time" as the BOJ
would likely achieve its yield targets with fewer purchases, the
minutes showed on Monday.
But a few board members insisted that the central bank
maintain the guidance because deleting it could send "a wrong
signal to markets by making it appear as if the BOJ was
considering tapering its asset purchases, the minutes showed.
The debate sheds light on the lingering gap in views among
the nine-member board over the new policy framework. Governor
Haruhiko Kuroda has said the BOJ may slow its bond buying if it
can meet its yield targets while buying fewer bonds.
But advocates of aggressive money printing, such as Deputy
Governor Kikuo Iwata, have said the BOJ should focus on huge
bond purchases even under the new framework targeting interest
At the Nov. 1 meeting, the BOJ held off on expanding
stimulus despite pushing back once again the timeframe for
hitting its 2 percent inflation target.
($1 = 117.3200 yen)
(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Eric