Jan 22, 11:56 PM EST

Japan central bank keeps lax monetary policy unchanged

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TOKYO (AP) -- The Bank of Japan has opted to keep intact its unprecedented monetary stimulus despite stronger than expected growth.

Japan's central bank announced the decision to stick with its massive asset purchases and negative interest rate policy following a policy meeting Tuesday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank, among other central banks, have begun tightening stimulus unleashed to counter the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

The BOJ appears to have recently reduced its purchases of government bonds, however Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda has said he would maintain Japan's barrage of deflation-fighting stimulus until a 2 percent inflation target is met.

The aim is to convince companies and consumers to spend more, helping to sustain faster growth.

The economy expanded at a 2.5 percent annual pace in July-September.

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