The ruling Democratic Party of Japan has asked four members of the Bank of Japan’s policy board to meet with DPJ lawmakers this month amid pressure for the central bank to increase monetary easing to end deflation.
Kouhei Ohtsuka, a leader of the ruling party’s official policy group on countering deflation requested that they attend the next meeting, he told reporters in Tokyo today. They haven’t yet responded, he said.
Political pressure on the BOJ is increasing, with the opposition Liberal Democratic Party considering a plan to reduce the central bank’s independence by changing the law that sets out the BOJ’s role. Some ruling party members have expressed support for the plan, and lawmakers from both parties have called for the bank to do more to combat deflation and support the world’s third-biggest economy.
“I feel a great sense of crisis” over efforts to alter the BOJ law, BNP Paribas chief economist Ryutaro Kono said at a forum in Tokyo today. Kono’s nomination to the BOJ board was rejected last week by the opposition controlled upper house.
The nine person board has two vacancies, leaving only four members -- Ryuzo Miyao, Yoshihisa Morimoto, Sayuri Shirai, and Koji Ishida -- once the governor and deputy governors are excluded. While the governor and one deputy have answered questions in the Diet this year, the other board members have not.
The request is not intended to place political pressure on the bank, Ohtsuka said. “In this economic climate, with continuing deflation, the responsibility that the BOJ policy board members have to shoulder is very heavy.”
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