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BOJ Members See Deflationary Mindset Easing

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02/22/2015 | 08:35pm EST

TOKYO--Many Bank of Japan board members said last month that the public's conversion from deflationary mindset was progressing, keeping in check speculation over further easing amid falling inflation.

"Despite further slides in oil prices and slowing year-on-year growth in the consumer price index, mid-to longer-term inflation expectations have been steadily maintained," many members said, according to the minutes of Jan. 20-21 meeting released on Monday.

They said the extra easing employed in late October as a preemptive strike to keep deflation concerns from renewing has been having its intended effect. All board members shared the view that whether to take further action will hinge on "inflation as a trend" that can be set by price rise expectations and improvement in the economy.

At the meeting, the BOJ stood pat on its key policy despite lowering again its inflation outlook due mainly to a sharp fall in oil prices. It cut its median forecast for the average rise in the consumer-price index in the year starting April 1 to a 1.0% rise, from its previous forecast for a 1.7% rise set in October.

In order to stoke inflation expectations, the BOJ has been watching closely the development of wage negotiations between management and labor unions now under way. But one member cautioned that the outcome would not have a big impact on the inflation as well as the economy, even if some wage increases were to be realized.

A few members also warned that massive asset purchases made by the central bank would be "technically feasible for a while," but the bank needs to be mindful of their future sustainability.

Write to Tatsuo Ito at tatsuo.ito@wsj.com

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