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New Japanese finance chief hits out at BoJ: reports

28 december 2012, 17:36
0
Japan's new finance chief hit out at the country's under-pressure central bank, reports said Thursday, saying it was "slow" in tackling deflation that has plagued the economy for years, AFP reports.

The remarks by Taro Aso, a former prime minister, were the latest sharp comments that the Liberal Democratic Party, which won national elections this month, has thrown at the Bank of Japan over its handling of policy matters.

The BoJ was "slow in its response to deflation", Aso said in his inaugural address to finance ministry officials.

"Let's stop the mindset that 'we didn't make mistakes'... we have to take measures seriously to end deflation," he was quoted as saying by Japan's leading Nikkei business daily and other media.

Aso also echoed his new boss Shinzo Abe, sworn in as Japan's prime minister on Wednesday, in calling for aggressive measures to boost the limp economy.

Earlier Thursday, Aso said a planned doubling of Japan's sales tax to 10 percent by 2015 -- pushed through earlier this year by the ousted Democratic Party of Japan -- may be put on hold unless Japan's economy picks up.

Japan's new premier has proposed the BoJ set a two-percent inflation target, and vowed big government spending to jumpstart growth although his prescription for solving Japan's woes has been met with a mixed response from economists.

Last week, the BoJ launched its third round of easing since September after its counterparts in the US and Europe also ushered in huge moves to counter slowing growth.

The move was widely seen as a bow to Abe, whose comments have been viewed as a direct challenge to the BoJ's independence in setting policy.

Deflation continues to pose a threat to Japan's recovery as a fall in prices cuts into corporate profits, leading firms to slash jobs and put off growth-generating capital investment.

It also hurts demand because it encourages consumers to put off purchases in the hope of paying less down the road.

Aso, 72, served a one-year stint as prime minister until an election loss in 2009. He was foreign minister during Abe's 2006-2007 tenure as premier in Japan's revolving-door political system.

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