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The Wrong Diagnosis For Japan

How the Bank of Japan is administering the wrong cure

Central bankers find themselves today in an unenviable position. They have succeeded in bringing real interest rates down to historical lows, but struggled to spur demand for loans. They have been hung out to dry by fiscal policymakers, who lack either the political will or capital to engage in expansionary policy. And the negative unintended (or accepted) consequences of their policies are rising and helping to fuel a populist backlash in much of the developed world.

It was against this backdrop that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) altered its stimulus programme in September, after concluding a ‘comprehensive assessment’ of its monetary easing. But instead of charting a new path for major central banks to follow, the BoJ largely misdiagnosed the reasons for Japan’s weak inflationary pressures and failed to administer – or recommend – the correct policy response.

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