BOJ meeting notes show willingness to discuss policy revisions

The Bank of Japan's notes from its meeting last week show a willingness among board members to broaden discussions on normalizing monetary policy.

The central bank decided to stick with its monetary easing measures at its 2-day meeting through January 23. However, the BOJ governor said after the meeting that the probability of hitting its two percent price-stability target has been gradually rising.

The Summary of Opinions report released on Wednesday cites similar sentiments.

A policymaker said "it is necessary for the Bank to start discussing the exit from the current monetary policy, since the achievement of the target is becoming more realistic."
A comment in the notes said wage reviews this spring will likely be at higher levels, and that "conditions for a revision, including the termination of the negative interest rate policy, are being met."

Another policymaker cited economic risks from the earthquake that struck central Japan on New Year's Day. The official said that after assessing the quake's macroeconomic effects for a month or two, the BOJ is "highly likely to reach a point where it can normalize monetary policy."

The BOJ's next two-day meeting starts on March 18 and market attention is now on what decisions the bank may make on policy in light of the latest opinion notes.