The Bank of Japan will act boldly and flexibly when necessary to support the economy, its deputy governor said, signalling readiness to expand stimulus even after last week's monetary easing as the pain from China's slowdown and Europe's debt crisis persist.
The central bank eased policy last week by boosting bond purchases because manufacturing activity in many countries had weakened more than expected, hitting Japanese exports and factory output, BOJ Deputy Governor Hirohide Yamaguchi said.
"We've judged that the economy was undershooting our expectations. If so, there was no reason to delay taking policy action," he told a forum on Monday.
Yamaguchi said that even after last week's monetary easing, the BOJ was ready to take further action if risks to the economy grow, including from yen rises that hurt exports.
"As have been the case up till now, we'll take bold and flexible action when necessary, while scrutinising the outlook for the economy and prices as well as risks," he said.
Japan's economy has outpaced growth of other G7 nations in the first half of this year with support from robust private consumption and spending for rebuilding from last year's earthquake.
But a recent slew of weak data, including a slump in exports and output, has cast doubt on the BOJ's forecast that Japan's economy is headed for a moderate recovery.
The number of people who committed suicide in Japan in 2012 was 27,858, dropping below 30,000 for the first time in 15 years, the Cabinet Office said in a white paper on Tuesday. The figure was 2,800 fewer than in 2011. (Japan Today )
A collection of materials related to a 17th century mission sent by a Japanese feudal lord to Europe and the world's oldest autographic diary left 10 centuries ago by a Japanese regent have been selected for the UNESCO Memory of the World registry, the Japanese education ministry said Wednesday. (Global Post )
Almost 1,500 people were transported to hospitals by ambulance due to heatstroke last week, up sharply from 942 in the preceding week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday. (Japan Times )
Among about 200,000 traffic signals nationwide, 16 percent are being used beyond the end of the expected lifetime of their electrical systems and some have even toppled over due to age, according to the National Police Agency. (Yomiuri )
In May, Akira Ikoma, the editor of a guide to men's entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Journey), said that "Abenomics" had caused a spike in prices at high-end soapland bathhouses in Tokyo. However, the same editor tells Shukan Post (June 28) that the initiative is not impacting the low-end market in the same way. (Tokyo Reporter )