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40% of firms want BOJ to scale down monetary easing: survey

This file photo taken in March 2020 shows the Bank of Japan head office in Tokyo. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Some 40 percent of companies want the Bank of Japan to scale down its ultraloose monetary policy over the next year, a recent survey by research firm Teikoku Databank Ltd. showed.

    Of around 1,000 valid respondents, 39.6 percent called for a scaling back of the stimulus program, while 36.4 percent said the central bank should maintain its current policy aimed at keeping interest rates at very low levels to support the economy.

    "While many think it is desirable for the BOJ to revise its strategy of unprecedented monetary easing, they are concerned about the risks posed by a sudden policy change and called for a gradual shift," the Tokyo-based research firm said in the survey.

    In the online survey conducted in mid-February, 17.6 percent said they want the central bank to further loosen its monetary grip, while 6.4 percent were in favor of tightening the easing policy pursued by Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

    The BOJ keeps short- and long-term rates at extremely low levels through its massive bond-buying program. While it helps to bolster the economy, experts have pointed out side effects, including excessive depreciation of the yen and distorting the bond market.

    The results came at a time when the government decided to tap Kazuo Ueda, an academic and former member of the BOJ's Policy Board, to succeed Kuroda, whose term will end in April.

    In a confirmation hearing in parliament on Feb. 24, Ueda said he views the current monetary easing policy as "appropriate" and will maintain it to support the economy.

    The average score given by respondents on Kuroda's monetary policy over the past decade was 65.8 on a scale of 100, Teikoku Databank said.

    A health clinic gave a score of 80, saying low interest rates helped it to survive the severe economic situation, while an electric appliance wholesaler gave only 10, requesting the BOJ to conduct policies with a long-term focus rather than relying on makeshift measures.

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