Shiokawa puts deflation on center stage

Deflation is an issue for the entire government to tackle, Japan's Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa said Tuesday, reversing his earlier stance that the price declines of the last four years are the responsibility of the central bank.

Shiokawa said late last year that the central bank must show a stronger commitment to stop the price declines, which have cut companies' profits, eroded the value of real estate and created new bad loans faster than Japanese banks can dispose of old ones.

Deflati