TOKYO (Reuters) - A Bank of Japan policymaker called for expanding monetary stimulus at a rate review in September, a summary of opinions of the bank’s board members at the meeting showed on Friday, an indication divisions may be growing over the direction of policy.
Most others in the nine-member board said it was appropriate to maintain the current stimulus programme given it would take time to achieve the BOJ’s 2 percent inflation target, the summary showed.
The summary of opinions does not identify which board member made the comments, and had no information on when and what measures the board member wants the BOJ to take.
However, the central bank’s announcement released after its meeting showed board newcomer Goushi Kataoka, a vocal advocate of aggressive easing, dissented to the BOJ’s decision to maintain monetary policy on the view the current policy was insufficient to boost inflation to the BOJ’s 2 percent target.
The summary highlights a fresh rift that Kataoka could bring to the BOJ, with many others in the nine-member board hesitant about ramping up an already massive stimulus programme including Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.
“It’s necessary to stimulate demand further with additional monetary easing to achieve and stabilise inflation at the BOJ’s target, given a scheduled sales tax hike in October 2019,” the board member was quoted as saying.
At the September meeting, the BOJ kept monetary policy steady by maintaining its short-term interest rate target at minus 0.1 percent and a pledge to guide 10-year government bond yields around zero percent.
While Kataoka did not make a specific proposal on expanding stimulus in September, the summary of opinions raises the prospect that he could present such a proposal at the next rate review on Oct. 30-31.
Several other board members said achieving the BOJ’s price target would take time, with one saying the best way to achieve the target would be to patiently maintain the current policy.
The summary also showed some members voicing concern over escalating tensions in North Korea and their impact on Japan’s economy.
“If geopolitical risks heighten further, the BOJ must be ready to consider taking necessary policy adjustments to prevent deflationary mindset from re-emerging,” one member was quoted as saying.
Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Sam Holmes