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TOKYO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Hirohide Yamaguchi said on Thursday the central bank is ready to ease monetary policy further if necessary through increased asset purchases.
"The BOJ may pursue further monetary easing if deemed necessary, while carefully scrutinizing economic and price developments," Yamaguchi said in a speech to business executives in Nagasaki, southern Japan.
The BOJ this month doubled its inflation target to 2 percent and switched to an open-ended commitment to buying assets next year, responding to intense pressure from new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for bolder efforts to beat deflation.
A career central banker, Yamaguchi is a key figure to watch for signals on the future direction of monetary policy and the markets consider him among those more eager to ease aggressively when needed. His five-year term ends on March 19.