Apr 27, 12:43 AM EDT

BOJ keeps lax monetary policy, forecasts steady growth

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TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's central bank kept its ultra-lax monetary policy unchanged Thursday, forecasting that growth in the world's third-largest economy would remain steady through the fiscal year ending in March 2018.

The Bank of Japan said demand spurred by preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will help support growth in the coming year or two.

But the central bank's statement warned of risks to that scenario from global trends, including U.S. economic policies, Britain's exit from the European Union and other geopolitical trends.

"With regard to the outlook for economic activity, risks are skewed to the downside, particularly those regarding developments in overseas economies," it said.

The Bank of Japan is pumping trillions of yen (tens of billions of dollars) into the economy each month through asset purchases intended to counter deflation and boost growth.

Results have been mixed, and inflation remains well below the 2 percent target set in 2013.

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