BOJ's Fukui says prices just one hurdle

Core consumer prices at zero percent is only one hurdle the Bank of Japan will need to clear when deciding whether to stop its policy of keeping interest rates at almost zero, Governor Toshihiko Fukui said.

``Rather than an ultimate goal, zero percent is merely a passing point'' in deciding when to end the zero-rate policy, Fukui told lawmakers in parliament in Tokyo. ``Deflation is still persistent in Japan's economy and we haven't escaped this abnormal condition.''

Fukui said a central bank