FACTBOX-Profiles of Bank of Japan policy board members

Mon Sep 6, 2010 8:29pm EDT

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TOKYO, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Following are profiles of the nine members of the Bank of Japan policy board:

MASAAKI SHIRAKAWA, 60, governor

A career central banker who took the helm in 2008, Shirakawa led the implementation of unconventional steps including corporate debt buying during the global financial crisis. He then guided the BOJ out of its corporate debt-buying programme as Japan emerged from recession.

Shirakawa has repeatedly warned that too narrow a focus on short-term prices can lead to asset bubbles, shrugging off calls from politicians for the BOJ to set a rigid inflation target. He also argues that weak demand is the root cause of deflation, which means flooding markets with cash alone will not work.

But Shirakawa has shown flexibility. He said last week after the bank eased its policy further at an emergency meeting that the BOJ will act appropriately and in a timely manner by taking into account economic and price developments and market moves.

HIROHIDE YAMAGUCHI, 59, deputy governor

A central banker for more than 30 years, Yamaguchi was a BOJ executive director when he was appointed to his current post in October 2008.

Yamaguchi, whose views are thought to be close to those of Shirakawa, has mostly toed the BOJ's official line on monetary policy. He is regarded as mainly in charge of communicating the BOJ's view to the government and ruling party lawmakers.

After an emergency meeting to re-establish dollar swaps with the U.S. Federal Reserve in May, he said funding strains in Europe could destabilise global markets in the future. [ID:nTOE649067]

Yamaguchi said in July that the BOJ was watching currency moves carefully but shrugged off any suggestion that rises in the yen to a specific level would trigger more monetary easing. [ID:nTOE66K02L]

KIYOHIKO NISHIMURA, 57, deputy governor

A former professor at the University of Tokyo and a statistics expert, Nishimura joined the BOJ board in 2005 and was appointed a deputy governor in March 2008.

He has voted with the majority on policy decisions and mostly toed the bank's official line.

Nishimura gave an upbeat view on the economy in April, saying it was showing some signs of eventually escaping deflation. But he stopped short of endorsing inflation targeting as sought by some ruling party lawmakers. [ID:nTOE63K02U]

HIDETOSHI KAMEZAKI, 67

Kamezaki, a former senior executive vice president of Japan's biggest trading firm, Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T), joined the board in April 2007. He has broad overseas experience at the trading house.

In late March, soon after the BOJ's easing, Kamezaki left the door open to more easing by warning that deflation was starting to affect public perceptions about future price moves and could complicate Japan's escape from persistent price falls. [ID:nTOE62O02M]

In July, he sounded a cautious view on Japan's economy, which he said lacked strength and could stall temporarily in the fourth quarter, while adding that the BOJ would not set policy with specific foreign exchange levels in mind. [ID:nTOE66R02U]

In October 2008, he was among four dissenters when the BOJ cut rates to 0.3 percent, calling instead for a cut to 0.25 percent. He has voted with the board and toed the BOJ's official line since then.

SEIJI NAKAMURA, 68

Nakamura, who joined the board in April 2007, was formerly head of a unit of Japanese ocean freight firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (9104.T). He worked mostly in the finance and planning sections.

Nakamura said in early February that pumping liquidity into the financial system alone would not put an end to debilitating price falls, a view shared by most BOJ officials. [ID:nTOE61302D]

He dissented when the BOJ cut rates to 0.3 percent in October 2008, favouring instead a cut to 0.25 percent. He has followed the BOJ's official line since then.

MIYAKO SUDA, 62

A former economics professor, Suda was reappointed for a second term in April 2006 and is the longest-serving member of the current board.

Suda warned in June that Europe's debt problems and ensuing market turmoil could hurt Japan, saying she was focusing on downside risks to the economy. [ID:nTOE65202T]

An expert on international finance, she has repeatedly warned of the drawbacks of keeping policy loose for too long and has stressed the need for structural economic reform to achieve growth.

Suda was the sole dissenter when the BOJ decided at an emergency meeting last week to boost its cheap loan scheme. This was due, according to Shirakawa, to her view that more time was needed to gauge the impact of stock and currency moves on the economy and that acting now would be interpreted as aimed at influencing exchange-rate moves.

She also voted against a March decision to double the size of the fund-supply tool and was the sole opponent on the board when the BOJ decided last year to buy corporate debt to support companies.

TADAO NODA, 63

A banking industry veteran who joined the board in June 2006, Noda was the sole dissenter when the BOJ cut interest rates to 0.1 percent in December 2008, arguing that pushing rates that low could distort market functions.

He mostly supported the adoption of unconventional steps taken during the global financial crisis but along with Suda he opposed the BOJ's additional easing on March 17.

Noda disagreed in March that additional monetary easing was needed, saying the economy and prices were moving in line with BOJ forecasts. [ID:nTOE62204S]

RYUZO MIYAO, 46

A lifelong academic and an expert on monetary policy, Miyao joined the board in March. He is known for his research on inflation targeting and some analysts say he doubts the effectiveness of such a policy. [ID:nT259620]

Miyao said in his first news conference after being appointed that monetary easing could boost growth even when the economy was picking up, echoing the BOJ's view and suggesting he would not oppose additional easing to beat deflation. [ID:nTOE62P07R]

He said in an interview with the Asahi newspaper in August that if the yen's rise is sustained it could affect the BOJ's main scenario, which is for a moderate recovery in Japan's economy. Asked about the need for more easing, Miyao said it would depend on whether such market moves would have a big impact on the economy. [ID:nTOE67206X]

YOSHIHISA MORIMOTO, 66

Morimoto, a former executive at Tokyo Electric Power Co (9501.T), Asia's biggest utility, assumed the post on July 1, bringing the nine-member board to full strength for the first time in more than two years.

Little is known about Morimoto's views on monetary policy, but his lack of experience in the area means he will likely vote with the majority of the board at least in the near term, analysts say.

On assuming the post, Morimoto said it was important for the BOJ to show clear resolve to end deflation and toed the bank's official line that it needed to support companies and households through ample fund supply. [ID:nTOE66006Y] (Reporting by Tokyo Economic Policy Desk; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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