UPDATE 1-Kuroda says BOJ eventually needs to consider how to normalize policy

* Too early to debate specific exit strategy - Kuroda

* Adds BOJ ready to ramp up stimulus if needed

* Shrugs off idea of tightening to make future policy space (Adds quotes, detail)

TOKYO, April 9 (Reuters) - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Monday the central bank would eventually need to consider how to normalize its ultra-easy monetary policy.

But he reiterated that it was too early to debate specific means to whittle down stimulus with inflation distant from the BOJ's 2 percent target.

"I think the process of any shift (from easy policy) would be cautious and gradual, as with U.S. and European central banks," Kuroda said in his inaugural news conference after being formally reappointed for another five-year term.

Kuroda said central banks must always be mindful of the demerits of prolonged monetary easing, regardless of whether they were implementing conventional or non-conventional steps.

Among notable demerits the BOJ must look out for were the risk that prolonged monetary easing, and a shift towards an exit, could disrupt Japan's banking system, Kuroda said.

Still, the BOJ's priority now was to maintain its massive stimulus program to achieve its inflation target, Kuroda said, stressing his resolve to keep policy ultra-loose.

"The economy and prices are doing quite well now but there's some distance to achieving 2 percent inflation," Kuroda said.

"It's inappropriate to tighten policy or diminish monetary support to create policy room to cope with a future downturn" in the economy, he said.

The BOJ will maintain its current policy framework until it becomes clear inflation has hit its target, and stands ready to ramp up stimulus if the economy loses momentum, Kuroda said.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Nick Macfie)