TOKYO -- A new member of the Bank of Japan board spoke cautiously about additional monetary easing on Friday, distancing himself from market expectations that new steps would be implemented soon.
Makoto Sakurai joined the central bank's board Friday, replacing Sayuri Shirai, who opposed the recent negative interest rate policy. Generally seen as a supporter of aggressive monetary easing, the market was expecting him to note the need for additional easing.
But he instead told reporters that "monetary policy is not something that should be used that excessively."
Sakurai, who worked as a researcher at the Export-Import Bank of Japan -- the predecessor of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation -- said the Japanese economy is 60% of the way toward the 2% price growth target set by the BOJ.
He expressed support for the negative interest rate policy decided on in January, saying that having many policy options is the most important factor, while noting it will take time for it to impact the real economy.
He indicated that monetary policy should be carried out with some level of surprise -- igniting speculation that his cautious remarks may be intended to prime the markets for an unexpected move.