The Bank of Japan's bold new board

TOKYO Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:21pm BST

Bank of Japan's (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda speaks during the upper house Financial Affairs committee of the Parliament in Tokyo, in this March 28, 2013 file picture. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/Files

Bank of Japan's (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda speaks during the upper house Financial Affairs committee of the Parliament in Tokyo, in this March 28, 2013 file picture.

Credit: Reuters/Yuya Shino/Files

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TOKYO (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan unleashed the world's most intense burst of monetary stimulus on April 4, promising to inject about 904 billion pounds into the economy in less than two years.

Here are short profiles of the Bank of Japan's board that took the decision:

HARUHIKO KURODA, 68, GOVERNOR - He was plucked from the Asian Development Bank by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to deliver radical reflationary policies at the Bank of Japan. Took office in March. Kuroda had long criticised the BOJ for doing too little, too late to end deflation and boost the Japanese economy. A voracious reader of books ranging from philosophy to detective novels.

KIKUO IWATA, 70, DEPUTY GOVERNOR - He was among the most firmly established critics of the BOJ, arguing the central bank could have ended deflation sooner with more aggressive action. Took office in March. He had advocated the BOJ target base money - cash and deposits at the central bank - in guiding policy. That was one of the steps the BOJ took on April 4.

HIROSHI NAKASO, 59, DEPUTY GOVERNOR - He was in charge of the central bank's international affairs before being named to Kuroda's team in March. With his fluent English and deep overseas contacts, Nakaso played a key role in trying to contain the damage to global banks from the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

KOJI ISHIDA, 65 - The veteran banker voiced caution over shifting the BOJ's policy framework too quickly, even as governor-nominee Kuroda was advocating aggressive action. Ishida feared that overloading the bank's balance sheet with long-term debt could bind its hands on future decisions. He has been willing to cut interest rates, proposing in December cutting the 0.1 percent floor on money-market rates. His proposal was rejected 8-1.

TAKEHIRO SATO, 51 - The former economist at Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities had argued for buying foreign bonds as a future option for the BOJ. He backed down after the idea drew heat from other G7 nations that consider it tantamount to currency intervention. Initially regarded as a policy dove, the amateur violinist was one of two members who dissented to the BOJ's January decision to double its inflation target to 2 percent.

RYUZO MIYAO, 48 - A soft-spoken former academic known for his research on inflation-targeting, he is considered among the board's keenest proponents of unorthodox easing. Miyao has proposed several policy changes in the past, including boosting the BOJ's asset-buying and loan scheme, but without garnering a consensus.

YOSHIHISA MORIMOTO, 68 - The former utility executive has always voted with the majority since joining the board in 2010. He has also warned the government must play its role in beating deflation by pursuing structural reform and deregulations to make Japan an easier place to do business.

SAYURI SHIRAI, 50 - The former International Monetary Fund economist often sided with ex-governor Masaaki Shirakawa, who argued the BOJ had already offered enough stimulus. The board's only woman, while mostly voting with the majority, surprised markets in March by proposing, shortly before Kuroda joined, that the BOJ combine its two bond-buying schemes to make it easier to buy longer-dated debt - an idea the incoming governor was floating. The proposal was rejected 8-1 before being adopted at Kuroda's first meeting in April.

TAKAHIDE KIUCHI, 49 - The former Nomura Securities chief economist was one of the two board members voting against raising the BOJ's inflation target to 2 percent in January. He said this was far above a sustainable level for Japan, which has seldom had inflation that high, even during asset bubbles. Kiuchi, despite earlier warning against loading up on longer-dated debt, joined the rest of the board in voting for most of Kuroda's reflationary policies in April. But he proposed watering down the BOJ's commitment to hitting its inflation target in two years. His proposal was rejected 8-1.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

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