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GIFU, Japan, June 1 (Reuters) - Bank of Japan board member Yutaka Harada said on Thursday it was important to maintain the central bank's pledge to keep buying bonds so that the balance of its holdings increases at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen ($721 billion).
"Maintaining the guidance is important as it instills confidence among markets" that the BOJ will keep buying bonds aggressively when the economy is hit by a negative shock, he said.
Harada was speaking at a news conference after meeting with business leaders in Gifu, central Japan. ($1 = 110.9900 yen) (Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Gallagher)