The Bank of Japan (BOJ) on Thursday decided to keep its current monetary policy despite recent weak consumption data, while putting off again the target date of achieving its 2 percent inflation goal.
Following a two-day policy meeting, the nine-member Policy Board of the central bank decided to maintain the current monetary policy of negative 0.1 percent deposit rate and 80 trillion yen ( 730 billion US dollars) base money target.
The bank maintained its previous assessment of the domestic economy, saying the economy "has continued its moderate recovery trend", despite recent weak data on exports and production.
Meanwhile, the BOJ downgraded its inflation outlook, projecting consumer prices to rise 0.5 percent this fiscal year and 1.7 percent in fiscal 2017, compared with earlier forecast of an increase of 0.8 percent and 1.8 percent respectively.
The bank pushed back again the target date for raising inflation rate to 2 percent, this time by six months, and expects to meet the goal in fiscal 2017.
The decision came after earlier government data showed that the country's consumer prices fell 0.3 percent in March from a year earlier due to declining energy prices, down at the fastest pace in three years.
Disappointment at the BOJ decision in the market dragged the U.S. dollar briefly down nearly 3 yen to the upper 108 yen range in Tokyo, triggering concerns over an even stronger yen.