Japan's Suga: Not true government is considering helicopter money

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga speaks during a joint Japan-U.S. meadia briefing about the process of U.S. forces consolidation in Okinawa, at Tokyo December 4, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s top government spokesman said on Wednesday the government was not considering “helicopter money” as an option, denying a media report that its advisers were suggesting the policy.

The Sankei newspaper reported on Wednesday that Etsuro Honda, an economic adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told the premier that now was a good time to embark on the policy, in which money is printed and directly handed to the private sector to stimulate the economy.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that the Bank of Japan would decide monetary policy steps based on market movements and economic environment.

Abe’s meeting on Tuesday with former U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, a proponent of “helicopter money” policies, also fueled speculation that the government’s stimulus package could be funded by the Bank of Japan’s easing.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim