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Jul 6, 2015

Japan policymakers pledge to temper potential market volatility after Greek upset

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese policymakers on Monday pledged to work closely to guard against financial market volatility after Greek voters rejected euro zone austerity measures.

“The direct economic and financial relations between Japan and Greece are limited. But government and Bank of Japan officials have held discussions early this morning” to ensure Japan responds smoothly to any market response as needed, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in a statement.

Jul 5, 2015

Rubbing along with robots tackles Abe’s double dilemma

TOKYO (Reuters) – Factory worker Satomi Iwata has new co-workers, a troupe of humanoid automata that are helping to address two of Japan’s most pressing concerns – a shortage of labor and a need for growth.

The 19 robots, which cost her employer Glory Ltd (6457.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) about 7.4 million yen ($60,000) each, have eye-like sensors and two arms that assemble made-to-order change dispensers alongside their human colleagues in a factory employing 370.

Jul 1, 2015

BOJ newcomer calls for corporate-style pragmatism in policy

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan’s new board member, Yukitoshi Funo, said policymakers must respond flexibly to changes in the economy while trying to achieve a 2 percent inflation target, signaling that he won’t be bound by a rigid time frame for meeting that goal.

The former Toyota Motor Corp executive (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) also said Japanese firms must boost productivity and become resilient to currency volatility, suggesting that he won’t pay heed to calls from the business sector to sway yen moves with monetary policy.

Jul 1, 2015

Japan business mood improves, capex plans strong: BOJ tankan

TOKYO (Reuters) – Confidence at big Japanese manufacturers unexpectedly improved in the second quarter and is seen rising further, a central bank survey showed, offering some relief to policy-makers keen to jump-start an economy appearing to back slide again.

Service-sector sentiment also improved for the third straight quarter, indicating private consumption has finally shaken off the slump after last year’s sales tax hike.

Jun 30, 2015

For Japan, lesson from Greek crisis is to keep on spending

TOKYO, June 30 (Reuters) – As one of the most indebted
countries in the developed world, the crisis unfolding in Greece
is causing a moment of self-reflection for Japan.

But policymakers and economic advisers in the world’s third
biggest economy are not drawing an uncomfortable lesson about
the need for fiscal discipline.

Jun 29, 2015

BOJ’s Kuroda warns of global uncertainty as Greece jolts market

TOKYO, June 29 (Reuters) – Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko
Kuroda said on Monday the global economic outlook was bound with
uncertainty that risked delaying the achievement of his
ambitious 2 percent inflation target.

In a speech to an annual gathering of major central bankers,
Kuroda said he was convinced the BOJ’s strong commitment to
achieve its price target will heighten inflation expectations
and break the public out of a sticky “deflationary mindset.”

Jun 26, 2015

Japan consumers increase spending for first time in more than a year

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s household spending in May rose for the first time in more than a year, and a robust jobs market fueled hopes that companies will begin lifting wages needed to spark inflation towards the central bank’s ambitious 2 percent goal.

The rebound offers some relief to the Bank of Japan, which has worried about the slow pick-up in consumption after last year’s sales tax hike pinched household budgets and raised questions about its massive stimulus program.

Jun 26, 2015

Japan May household spending posts first rise in more than a year

TOKYO, June 26 (Reuters) – Japan’s household spending rose
more than expected in May to mark the first annual increase in
more than a year, data showed on Friday, a sign consumers are
finally resuming spending after last year’s sales tax hike
pinched their wallets.

But core consumer prices rose just 0.1 percent in the year
to May, highlighting how far off the central bank is from
hitting its 2 percent price goal and keeping alive expectations
for more stimulus later this year.

Jun 25, 2015

Japan’s back-sliding on fiscal reform puts Bank of Japan in bind

TOKYO (Reuters) – The government’s backsliding on promises to rein in spending puts the Bank of Japan in a bind, limiting its scope to expand its massive monetary stimulus when the economy needs it, or ultimately to wind it back without causing chaos in the bond markets.

Government’s slow progress in moving toward a balancing of its books has been a disappointment for the central bank, which frets that failure to tackle Japan’s huge debt – bigger even than Greece’s relative to its economy – could force it to keep buying government bonds for longer than it wants.

Jun 25, 2015

Japan’s back-sliding on fiscal reform puts BOJ in bind

TOKYO, June 26 (Reuters) – The government’s backsliding on
promises to rein in spending puts the Bank of Japan in a bind,
limiting its scope to expand its massive monetary stimulus when
the economy needs it, or ultimately to wind it back without
causing chaos in the bond markets.

Government’s slow progress in moving towards a balancing of
its books has been a disappointment for the central bank, which
frets that failure to tackle Japan’s huge debt – bigger even
than Greece’s relative to its economy – could force it to keep
buying government bonds for longer than it wants.