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TOKYO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan kept interest rates virtually at zero and held off on new policy initiatives on Thursday, taking a breather after having expanded monetary easing earlier this month to support a fragile economic recovery.
The BOJ also announced details of its asset buying scheme announced on Oct. 5, saying it would buy 1.5 trillion yen ($18.36 billion) in long-term government bonds and 2 trillion yen in short-term government securities.
The central bank also said it would bring forward its next policy board meeting to Nov. 4-5 from Nov. 15-16 to make arrangements to start buying exchange-traded funds and J-REITs at an early date.
As widely expected, it decided to keep interest rates unchanged at a range of zero to 0.1 percent by a unanimous vote.
The BOJ will issue its twice-yearly report on the economic and price outlook at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT). Governor Masaaki Shirakawa will then hold an embargoed news conference, with his comments expected to come out sometime after 4:15 p.m. (0715 GMT).
At its previous rate review on Oct. 5, the BOJ surprised markets by pegging interest rates virtually at zero and pledging to pump more funds into the economy with a 5 trillion yen asset buying scheme.
Under the scheme, the BOJ will buy assets ranging from government bonds and short-term government securities to commercial paper and corporate bonds. ($1=81.69 Yen) (Reporting by Leika Kihara, Rie Ishiguro; Editing by Edmund Klamann)