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Bank of Japan inches back presence in bond market

Ownership of government debt falls first time in almost seven years to 42.99%

A view of the Bank of Japan's headquarters in Tokyo. The central bank is shifting to a monetary policy focus on market interest rates, not quantity of holdings.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The proportion of government bonds held by the Bank of Japan fell for the first time in six years and nine months as the central bank gradually curbs its massive monetary easing program.

At the end of December, the BOJ held 42.99% of all issued Japanese government bonds, according to its own data, or 478 trillion yen ($4.29 trillion) of 1.11 quadrillion yen in outstanding debt, down slightly from 43% at the end of September.

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