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Working Papers

February 2004, No. 04-1

Price Stability and Japanese Monetary Policy

Robert L. Hetzel

For most of the time since 1995, the Japanese price level has declined. Since early 1999, short-term interest rates have mostly remained near zero. Also, starting in 2001, the excess reserves held by banks have risen dramatically. Many observers have concluded that central banks are powerless to end deflation when short-term interest rates are near zero. This paper argues that such a pessimistic conclusion is unwarranted.

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