BOJ steps aimed at ensuring economic recovery: Shirakawa
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa defended the central bank's aggressive monetary expansion, saying it was aimed at reviving the economy not at weakening the yen, as the country came under fresh international criticism ahead of a closely watched G20 gathering.
His comments came after data showed Japan's economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter, failing to escape a mild recession and playing into the hands of a government pushing for more radical stimulus measures that could cause the currency to weaken further.
Mr Shirakawa said he would make that point clear to his Group of 20 counterparts at the weekend meeting in Russia, where Japan may face heat from some countries unhappy with the yen's recent steep falls, such as export competitor South Korea.
"The BOJ is conducting monetary policy to achieve stability in Japan's economy. It will continue to do so," he told a news conference on Thursday, hours before heading for Moscow.