Bank of Japan

Bank of Japan
Bank of Japan
日本銀行 (Japanese)
Logo Headquarters
Logo Headquarters
Headquarters Chuo, Tokyo, Japan
Coordinates 35°41′10″N 139°46′17″E / 35.6861°N 139.7715°E / 35.6861; 139.7715
Established 1882
Governor Masaaki Shirakawa
Central bank of Japan
Currency Japanese yen
ISO 4217 Code JPY
Base borrowing rate 0%-0.10%
Preceded by First National Bank

The Bank of Japan (日本銀行 Nippon Ginkō?, BOJ, JASDAQ: 8301) is the central bank of Japan.[1] The Bank is often called Nichigin (日銀?) for short. It has its headquarters in Chuo, Tokyo.[2]



Like most modern Japanese institutions, the Bank of Japan was founded after the Meiji Restoration. Prior to the Restoration, Japan's feudal fiefs all issued their own money, hansatsu, in an array of incompatible denominations, but the New Currency Act of Meiji 4 (1871) did away with these and established the yen as the new decimal currency, which had parity with the Mexican silver dollar.[3] The former han (fiefs) became prefectures and their mints became private chartered banks which, however, initially retained the right to print money. For a time both the central government and these so-called "national" banks issued money. A period of unanticipated consequences was ended when the Bank of Japan was founded in Meiji 15 (1882) after a Belgian model. It has since been partly privately owned (its stock is traded over the counter, hence the stock number).[4] A number of modifications based on other national banks were encompassed within the regulations under which the bank was founded.[5] The institution was given a monopoly on controlling the money supply in 1884, but it would be another 20 years before the previously issued notes were retired.[6]

Following the passage of the Convertible Bank Note Regulations (May 1884), the Bank of Japan issued its first banknotes in 1885 (Meiji 18). Despite some small glitches—for example, it turned out that the konnyaku powder mixed in the paper to prevent counterfeiting made the bills a delicacy for rats—the run was largely successful. In 1897 Japan joined the gold standard[7] and in 1899 the former "national" banknotes were formally phased out.

The Osaka branch of the Bank of Japan is seen in the top right of this 1930 aerial photograph. The wide street in front of the bank is part of the Mido-Suji.

Since its Meiji era beginnings, the Bank of Japan has operated continuously from main offices in Tokyo and Osaka.


The BOJ was reorganized in 1942[1] Under the Bank of Japan Act of 1942 (日本銀行法 昭和17年法律第67号?). There was a brief post-war period during the Occupation of Japan when the bank's functions were suspended, and military currency was issued. In 1949, the bank was again restructured.[1]

In the 1970s, the Bank's operating environment evolved along with the transition from a fixed foreign currency exchange rate and a rather closed economy to a large open economy with a variable exchange rate.[8]

During the entire post-war era, until at least 1991, the Bank of Japan's monetary policy has primarily been conducted via its 'window guidance' (窓口指導) credit controls (which are the model for the Chinese central bank's primary tool of monetary policy implementation), whereby the central bank would impose bank credit growth quotas on the commercial banks. The tool was instrumental in the creation of the 'bubble economy' of the 1980s. It was implemented by the Bank of Japan's then 'Business Department' (営業局), which was headed during the 'bubble years' from 1986 to 1989 by Toshihiko Fukui (who became deputy governor in the 1990s and governor in 2003).[9]

A major 1997 revision of the Bank of Japan Act (jp:日本銀行法) was designed to give it greater independence;[10] however, the Bank of Japan has been criticized for already possessing excessive independence and lacking in accountability before this law was promulgated.[11] A certain degree of dependence might be said to be enshrined in the new Law, article 4 of which states:

In recognition of the fact that currency and monetary control is a component of overall economic policy, the Bank of Japan shall always maintain close contact with the government and exchange views sufficiently, so that its currency and monetary control and the basic stance of the government's economic policy shall be mutually harmonious.

However, since the introduction of the new law, the Bank of Japan has persistently rebuffed government requests to stimulate the economy.[12]


The place of the foundation of the Bank of Japan

According to its charter, the missions of the Bank of Japan are

  • Issuance and management of banknotes
  • Implementation of monetary policy
  • Providing settlement services and ensuring the stability of the financial system
  • Treasury and government securities-related operations
  • International activities
  • Compilation of data, economic analyses and research activities


The Bank of Japan is headquartered in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, on the site of a former gold mint (the Kinza) and, not coincidentally, near the famous Ginza district, whose name means "silver mint".

The Neo-baroque Bank of Japan building in Tokyo was designed by Tatsuno Kingo in 1896.

The Osaka branch in Nakanoshima is sometimes considered as the structure which effectively symbolizes the bank as an institution.


The chief of the bank (総裁, sōsai) has considerable influence on the economic policy of the Japanese government. Japanese lawmakers endorsed the acting Bank of Japan chief as its governor April 9, 2008, Masaaki Shirakawa, ending a power vacuum at the central bank's helm by approving the government's third candidate for the job. In a House of Representatives of Japan-hearing April 8, 2008, Shirakawa said he would maintain the bank's independence and transparency.

List of governors

  1. Yoshihara Shigetoshi (October 6, 1882 – December 19, 1887)
  2. Tomita Tetsunosuke (February 21, 1888 – September 3, 1889)
  3. Kawada Koichiro (September 3, 1889 – November 7, 1896)
  4. Iwasaki Yanosuke (November 11, 1896 – October 20, 1898)
  5. Tatsuo Yamamoto (October 20, 1898 – October 19, 1903)
  6. Shigeyoshi Matsuo (October 20, 1903 – June 1, 1911)
  7. Korekiyo Takahashi (June 1, 1911 – February 20, 1913)
  8. Yatarō Mishima (February 28, 1913 – March 7, 1919).[13]
  9. Junnosuke Inoue (March 13, 1919 – September 2, 1923)
  10. Otohiko Ichiki (September 5, 1923 – May 10, 1927)
  11. Junnosuke Inoue[14] (May 10, 1927 – June 1, 1928)
  12. Hisaakira Hijikata (June 12, 1928 – June 4, 1935)
  13. Eigo Fukai (June 4, 1935 – February 9, 1937)
  14. Seihin Ikeda (February 9, 1937 – July 27, 1937)
  15. Toyotaro Yuki (July 27, 1937 – March 18, 1944)
  16. Keizo Shibusawa (March 18, 1944 – October 9, 1945)
  17. Eikichi Araki (October 9, 1945 – June 1, 1946)
  18. Hisato Ichimada (June 1, 1946 – December 10, 1954)
  19. Eikichi Araki[15] (December 11, 1954 – November 30, 1956)
  20. Masamichi Yamagiwa (November 30, 1956 – December 17, 1964)
  21. Makoto Usami (December 17, 1964 – December 16, 1969)
  22. Tadashi Sasaki (December 17, 1969 – December 16, 1974)
  23. Teiichiro Morinaga (December 17, 1974 – December 16, 1979)
  24. Haruo Maekawa (December 17, 1979 – December 16, 1984)
  25. Satoshi Sumita (December 17, 1984 – December 16, 1989)
  26. Yasushi Mieno (December 17, 1989 – December 16, 1994)
  27. Yasuo Matsushita (December 17, 1994 – March 20, 1998)
  28. Masaru Hayami (March 20, 1998 – March 19, 2003)
  29. Toshihiko Fukui (March 20, 2003 – March 19, 2008)
  30. Masaaki Shirakawa (March 20, 2008 – )

See also


  1. ^ a b c Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric et al. (2005). "Nihon Ginkō" in Japan encyclopedia, p. 708. at Google Books
  2. ^ "Guide Map to the Bank of Japan Tokyo Head Office." Bank of Japan. Retrieved on December 22, 2009.
  3. ^ Nussbaum, "Banks" at p. 69. at Google Books
  4. ^ Vande Walle, Willy et al. "Institutions and ideologies: the modernization of monetary, legal and law enforcement 'regimes' in Japan in the early Meiji-period (1868-1889)" (abstract). FRIS/Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 2007.
  5. ^ Longford, Joseph Henry. (1912). Japan of the Japanese, p. 289.
  6. ^ Cargill, Thomas et al. (1997). The political economy of Japanese monetary policy, p. 10.
  7. ^ Nussbaum, "Banks" at p. 70. at Google Books
  8. ^ Cargill, p. 197.
  9. ^ Werner, Richard (2002). ‘Monetary Policy Implementation in Japan: What They Say vs. What they Do’, Asian Economic Journal, vol. 16 no.2, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 111-151; Werner, Richard (2001). Princes of the Yen, Armonk: M. E. Sharpe [1]
  10. ^ Cargill, p. 19.
  11. ^ Horiuchi, Akiyoshi (1993), "Japan" in Chapter 3, "Monetary policies" in Haruhiro Fukui, Peter H. Merkl, Hubrtus Mueller-Groeling and Akio Watanabe (eds.), The Politics of Economic Change in Postwar Japan and WWest Germany, vol. 1, Macroeconomic Conditions and Policy Responses, London: Macmillan. Werner, Richard (2005), New Paradigm in Macroeconomics, London: Macmillan.
  12. ^ See rebuffed requests by the government representatives at BOJ policy board meetings: e.g. [2] or refusals to increase bond purchases: Bloomberg News [3]
  13. ^ Masaoka, Naoichi. (1914). Japan to America, p. 127.
  14. ^ Junnosuke Inoue's second term as BOJ Governor
  15. ^ Eikichi Araki's second term as BOJ governor


The Bank of Japan Osaka Branch

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