Economy minister calls on BoJ to hold rates steady

Japan's economic and fiscal policy minister Hiroko Ota on Monday 15 January called for the Bank of Japan to hold interest rates unchanged ahead of its meeting this week.

"Japan is facing an extremely critical moment as it is finally getting out of deflation," Ota told a news conference, two days before the Bank of Japan's policy board begins a two-day meeting.

"Our most important task this year is to put an end to deflation," said Ota.

"I hope [the Bank of Japan] will support the scenario of t

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