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BoJ holds off fresh easing measures


The Bank of Japan held off announcing any new policy measures Friday as it wrapped up its first meeting since unveiling a huge stimulus package this month aimed at stoking the limp economy.

In a brief, two-paragraph statement the central bank said its widely expected decision to stand pat was reached by a unanimous vote by its board.

Earlier Friday, data released showed Japan's core consumer prices, which exclude volatile prices of fresh food, fell 0.5 percent on-year in March, highlighting the tough task ahead for the bank and the government.

This month, the central bank's new management team -- hand picked by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -- embarked on a new era of huge spending by announcing a massive stimulus plan to drag the economy out of decades of stagnation.

At his first meeting as BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda, a staunch critic of the previous BoJ's efforts to kickstart the economy, said he would double the money supply and vowed no let-up in the fight against deflation that has hit private spending and corporate investment.

The also bank pledged to meet a two percent inflation target within two years, a key aim of a government.