(РђР ) - Japan's top government spokesman said Thursday that North Korea's missile tests won't hurt Japan's economy or influence the central bank's decision on interest rates.
Still, jitters over the incident on Wednesday set off declines on Japan's stock market, with the benchmark index falling 1.3 percent Thursday after dropping 0.7 percent on Wednesday, reports Trend.
"There is no impact on the economy from North Korea's missile launches," Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe told reporters. "When the Bank of Japan makes a policy decision, we think there is no need to take this problem into consideration. We have no intent to ask the BOJ to consider it."
With Japan's economy recovering, many investors and analysts expect the central bank to raise interest rates at its July 13-14 policy meeting or the meeting after that in August. The bank has not raised interest rates in nearly six years and has kept rates at zero since March 2001.
On Thursday, North Korea confirmed it had fired seven missiles and threatened to launch more. The rockets fell into the sea without causing damage or injuries, government officials say. One of them was believed to be the Taepodong-2, which may have capabilities to reach parts of the United States.
Worries about regional stability initially sent the yen lower against the dollar
, although the dollar finished lower on profit-taking at 115.48 yen in Tokyo midafternoon from 115.71 yen late Wednesday in New York.
Further bolstering speculation for a rate hike soon, Bank of Japan Gov. Toshihiko Fukui said the Japanese economy was recovering steadily in his comments at the central bank's quarterly branch managers' meeting Thursday.
Fukui also said the central bank will continue to manage monetary policy by watching developments in the economy and prices.
"The economy will likely expand based on a favorable economic recovery cycle led by production, income and expenditure," he said.
The Bank of Japan has said it won't raise interest rates until consumer prices are steadily raising. Recent data showed that nationwide core consumer prices rose 0.6 in May, the seventh straight monthly increase.