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BOJ's Kuroda apologises for saying people are beginning to accept price rises

Economy Jun 07, 2022 07:06AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Japan yen note is seen in this illustration photo taken June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration 2/2

By Leika Kihara and Daniel Leussink

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's central bank chief Haruhiko Kuroda apologised on Tuesday for a remark a day earlier that households were becoming more accepting of price rises after drawing political heat on the issue, underscoring public sensitivity to rising living costs.

The comment came at a sensitive time for the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, which faces growing calls to tackle rising costs of food and fuel ahead of an upper house election next month.

"I'm sorry that the expression caused misunderstanding somewhat," Kuroda told reporters, adding that it had been inappropriate for him to say households were becoming more accepting of price rises.

Earlier, opposition lawmaker Kenji Katsube, one of several politicians who questioned Kuroda in parliament, said the Bank of Japan governor's comment showed he "did not understand how the public feels" about price rises.

News agency Kyodo quoted Trade Minister Koichi Hagiuda as saying, "It deviates somewhat from reality," in response to questions from reporters about the comment.

The remark also drew criticism on social media, with responses using the hashtag "We can't accept price increases".

One user wrote, "We're buying goods because they are daily necessities, not because we're accepting" higher prices. "Everyone is suffering pain."

Another wrote, "Only wealthy people like you were able to save during the coronavirus pandemic."

While conceding his words may have been inappropriate, Kuroda said the remark was intended to help explain the need for more wage growth.

"We aren't just aiming to raise prices," he said. "We instead want to create a positive cycle where prices rise in tandem with stronger wage growth and economic activity."

Japan's core consumer prices were 2.1% higher in April than a year earlier, exceeding the BOJ's inflation target for the first time in seven years, boosted chiefly by rising prices of food and fuel.

BOJ officials have repeatedly said such cost-push inflation will be temporary and will not trigger a withdrawal of monetary stimulus.

BOJ's Kuroda apologises for saying people are beginning to accept price rises
 

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Comments (4)
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Jun 07, 2022 8:36AM ET
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for the last 3 decades Japanese govt/central bank wanted inflation to kick start their economy, now they finally have it and they wish it's not here....
Mart Bab
Rubberduck1973 Jun 07, 2022 1:07AM ET
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At least Kuroda is straight forward with his intentions. The other bunch keep lying to the public, telling them they are willing to fight inflation, when they are not, for the same reasons.
Mart Bab
Rubberduck1973 Jun 07, 2022 1:07AM ET
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Aka you are being lied to. Buy gold to protect you wealth. Central bankers have been trying to create higher inflation for decades with no success. They have their chance now and are not going to let go. In my opinion the game is to diminish the wealth gap buy allowing inflation to push up income, deal with government dept and the crushing prices back down by raising rates significantly
Fluffy Clucks
ChuckKay Jun 06, 2022 10:12PM ET
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Kuroda worst central banker ever.   And seeing as most are clueless, yeah.  Nice one Kuroda.
Erich Lampman
Erich Lampman Jun 06, 2022 10:01PM ET
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Just keep raising wages to keep up with inflation…smart.
 
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