Japan splits on economy hold up new bank chief
Tuesday 19 February 2013
Political splits over Japan’s hyper-aggressive plans to jump-start its struggling economy have delayed the appointment of its top central banker, it emerged today.
Prime minister Shinzo Abe has held off from nominating a successor to retiring Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa for a week amid reports of friction between Abe and finance minister Taro Aso over a candidate.
Abe’s drive for looser monetary policy prompted the doubling of the BoJ’s inflation target to 2% last month as well as a potentially unlimited money-printing programme from next year. The push has triggered new accusations of a currency war although Japan escaped censure from the G20 nations last weekend.
The leading candidate is former deputy governor Toshiro Muto, a more conservative candidate likely to be favoured by Aso. Abe is said to be leaning towards Kazumasa Iwata, a current deputy governor who has repeatedly called for the BoJ to consider buying foreign bonds to curb the yen.
Abe and Aso clashed publicly over foreign bond buying as the prime minister said it should be an “option”.
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