BOJ defies pressure; interest rates unchanged

TOKYO -- Japan's central bank has ended its latest policy meeting with no change in the country's key interest rate, resisting government pressure for further easing.

The Bank of Japan said in a statement Friday that it expected the world's third-largest economy to "level off" for now, with inflation at about 0 percent.

In a rare move, the government's national policy minister, Seiji Maehara told reporters he attended the central bank's meeting to appeal for further monetary easing.

The BOJ said it would keep policy unchanged for now but continue asset purchases and other "powerful monetary easing" to spur growth.