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2013年3月18日 (月)

黒田日銀発足へ 野党分断が奏功した同意人事

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 18, 2013)
Abe's clever approach pays off with BOJ appointments
黒田日銀発足へ 野党分断が奏功した同意人事(3月17日付・読売社説)

The new leadership of the Bank of Japan bears the heavy responsibility of crafting bold monetary easing measures that help the nation drag itself out of deflation.

Both Diet chambers have approved Haruhiko Kuroda, former vice finance minister for international affairs and currently president of the Asian Development Bank, as the replacement of outgoing Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa. Gakushuin University Prof. Kikuo Iwata and Hiroshi Nakaso, executive director of the central bank, were given the thumbs-up to be deputy governors. The three will assume their posts Wednesday.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has cleared its biggest challenge so far during the current ordinary Diet session. It is significant that the administration has gained Diet approval for its appointments as it planned, considering the fact that the Diet remains divided.

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which holds the most seats in the House of Councillors, opposed Iwata's appointment. However, he was eventually approved because other opposition parties voted for him.

Diet approval of the appointments was the result of Abe's strategic personnel selections that took into account not only the DPJ's opinion, but also those of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), Your Party and other opposition parties. Abe will surely apply this strategy--effectively splitting the opposition block--to other issues as he manages his government.


Flexibility needed

The lineup for promoting the "Abenomics" economic policy has now been completed. The government and the central bank should work together even more closely to galvanize efforts to revive the economy.

Kuroda is known as a proponent of a bold monetary easing policy. During hearings in both Diet chambers, Kuroda expressed his determination, saying, "I'll take whatever steps are possible to pull the nation out of deflation."

Kuroda also discussed details of his own views. He said the central bank should purchase large amounts of long-term government bonds and implement an open-ended monetary easing plan earlier than 2014 as scheduled, under which the bank buys a huge amount of financial assets without setting a specific termination date.

Kuroda said he will present new monetary easing measures as soon as he assumes the governor's post. We hope he responds flexibly to the challenges ahead.

The most important thing is that the central bank promptly implements its policies.

The Bank of Japan's monetary policy is decided by a majority vote by its governor, deputy governors and six other members of the Policy Board. Even a new policy proposed by the governor cannot be implemented if a majority of board members votes against it.


Not always on same page

Kuroda said the bank should aim to meet its annual inflation target of 2 percent within two years, but Nakaso said it is "difficult to guarantee the target will be achieved in two years." Kuroda and Iwata have different opinions when it comes to revising the Bank of Japan Law, with the former taking a cautious stance and the latter advocating it.

It would cause problems if the central bank becomes indecisive because the Policy Board lacks unity. It is crucial that Kuroda exercise strong leadership as the bank's governor.

Equally important is ensuring the bank's independence. The central bank will find confidence in its monetary policy evaporates if it is perceived as merely following government instructions to underwrite its bonds and clear up its fiscal deficits.

The Bank of Japan should not get overly cozy with the government, and should demand that fiscal discipline be maintained.

Some foreign countries have criticized Japan for intentionally weakening the yen by implementing a monetary easing policy, which is designed to usher the nation out of deflation. We hope Kuroda tries hard to gain understanding from other nations by taking advantage of his extensive personal connections overseas.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 17, 2013)
(2013年3月17日01時25分  読売新聞)


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