TOKYO: Some members of the Bank of Japan's Policy Board at its March 16 monetary policy meeting warned that the coronavirus epidemic is starting to "exert serious effects" on Japan's economy, the minutes of the meeting showed Friday.
Agreeing that Japan's economic activity "has been weak recently," members of the board judged it "appropriate" for the central bank to enhance its monetary easing.
The board decided monetary easing for the first time in about three and a half years at the meeting.
In March, stock prices showed extremely volatile movements due to heightened concerns over the pandemic. "A few members" pointed out that there is "a risk that households sentiment and firms' investment stance would rapidly become cautious if financial markets remain unstable," according to the minutes.
The policy meeting was pushed forward from the originally scheduled March 18-19.
The board decided to introduce new money market operations to facilitate corporate financing, and increase its purchases of assets such as exchange-traded funds.
Multiple members said that they expect the government to offer aid measures amid the pandemic, such as compensation for business closures, the minutes showed.