- The Bank of Japan board decided by a unanimous vote on Tuesday to leave the bank''s policy target unchanged while noting weaker exports and slightly higher business investment and factory output.

The Bank of Japan will conduct money market operations so that the monetary base will increase at an annual pace of about Y60 to Y70 trillion," the BOJ said, adding that its financial asset purchases will also proceed as decided in April 2013.

"Japan''s economy has continued to recover moderately, and a front-loaded increase in demand prior to the consumption tax hike has recently been observed."

The BOJ''s near-term inflation outlook remained an expected year-on-year rate of increase in consumer prices, excluding the direct impact of an upcoming April sales tax hike, of "around 1.25% for some time."

But board member Sayuri Shirai continued dissenting from endorsing this analysis, urging that the pace of improvement in employment and income in Japan should be added to the list of risks.

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a news conference from 1530 JST (0630 GMT) to 1615 JST (0715 GMT) to discuss the board''s decision.

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