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Kuroda takes pains to tweak policy as loosening lengthens

Bank of Japan's balancing act already draws criticism from within

The Bank of Japan on Tuesday announced its first monetary policy changes in nearly two years to ensure that easing can continue for the foreseeable future.

TOKYO -- The Bank of Japan's decision on Tuesday to continue "powerful monetary easing" but to also allow long-term interest rates to move in a wider band reflects the dilemma faced by Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda.

With external uncertainties looming -- stemming from the trade tensions between the U.S. and China -- and a domestic political calendar that includes the ruling party's leadership race in September, upper house elections next summer and a consumption tax hike soon to follow, the central bank felt a need to act. But it was careful not to send the wrong message.

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