Jun 07, 2022 02:21AM ET
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda faced political criticism Tuesday for saying the prior day that households were increasingly accepting price increases, underscoring the public's sensitivity to rising living costs.
Opposition Rep. Kenji Katsube, one of several politicians who took Kuroda to task in parliament, said the remark showed the governor "does not understand how the public thinks about price increases."
"It deviates somewhat from reality," Trade Minister Koichi Hagiuda was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency when he told reporters about Kuroda's remarks.
The remarks come at a delicate time for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government, which is facing increasing demands to tackle rising fuel and food costs ahead of upper house elections next month.
The remark also sparked fierce criticism on social media. Many people shared their comments under the hashtag "We can't accept price increases."
One user wrote: "We buy goods because we need them every day, not because we accept higher prices." "Everyone suffers."
Another wrote, "Only rich people like you could save us during the coronavirus pandemic."
While acknowledging that the wording may have been inappropriate, Kuroda said Tuesday that the remark was made in the context of explaining the need for stronger wage growth.
"We don't want to just raise prices," he said. "Rather, we want to create a positive cycle in which prices rise in step with stronger wage growth and economic activity," he said.
Japanese core consumer prices were 2.1% higher in April than a year earlier, exceeding the BoJ's inflation target for the first time in seven years, largely due to rising fuel and food prices.
BoJ officials have repeatedly stated that such cost-driving inflation is temporary and will not trigger a withdrawal of monetary stimulus