(Reuters) - Bank of Japan board member Yukitoshi Funo on Wednesday stressed the need to continue the BOJ's current easing program as its 2 percent inflation target remained distant, although price momentum was being firmly maintained.

"It is important that the bank continue to tenaciously pursue powerful monetary easing under QQE with yield curve control," Funo told business leaders in Miyazaki, southern Japan, according to the speech text posted on the BOJ's website.

He also said it was important to watch developments in firms' price-setting behavior and a possible delay in the increase of consumers' inflation expectations.

Funo, a former Toyota Motor executive, has voted with the majority of the BOJ's board, including its decision last year to shift its policy focus to targeting interest rates from increasing the money supply.


(Reporting by Chris Gallagher in Tokyo; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)

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