BOJ holds fire, defies easing calls
The leader of the main opposition, Shinzo Abe, has put the central bank at the centre of economic debate ahead of a Dec. 16 national election that surveys show his party would win, signalling his government would put the bank under much greater pressure to ease policy.
Abe has even suggested revising the Bank of Japan law, a step critics say is aimed at clipping the central bank's independence and forcing it to print money to finance public debt that is already double the size of Japan's economy.
At the end of a two-day meeting, the central bank left monetary policy unchanged, holding fire so it can size up the policies of a new government to be formed after the December vote for the powerful Lower House.
It also wants more time to assess the impact of policy easing in September and October, which raised the size of its asset buying and lending programme to 91 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion) -- roughly equal to Japan's annual state spending.
Markets barely reacted to the announcement as many had priced in the BOJ decision. But some analysts see a good chance the central bank will boost stimulus at its next rate review on Dec. 19-20, just days after the election.
The pressure on
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