TOKYO (AP) - Japan's central bank raised the amount of excess cash in the financial market Wednesday to up to 22 trillion yen (US$187 billion) to try to help along a stagnant economy.
The range for that extra money in the system before Wednesday's decision at a policy board meeting had been up to 20 trillion yen (US$170 billion).
The Bank of Japan said the move was mostly a technical adjustment. The new target range takes effect April 1.
The central bank left unchanged its target of buying 1.2 trillion yen (US$10 billion) of government bonds each month.
The Bank of Japan reiterated its commitment to take a flexible approach to policy ahead of the fiscal-year end March 31, saying it stood ready to pump more liquidity into the financial system if there are any signs of trouble.
The policy meeting was the last for outgoing bank Gov. Masaru Hayami, whose term ends March 19. Former BOJ deputy governor Toshihiko Fukui takes the post March 20.
Japan has been struggling in a slowdown for more than a decade.
The main index for Tokyo stock is at a 19-year low, the nation's jobless rate is at its highest in at least half a century and paychecks are shrinking.
The central bank has lowered interest rates to near zero since 1999 to encourage a rebound, although there was a brief period when the zero-interest rate policy was temporarily called off.
Japan's downturn seemed to have bottomed out last year on the back of exports to the United States and Asia.
But worries are again growing the economy is headed downward again this year, especially if war breaks out in Iraq. - AP