The Bank of Japan is the central bank of Japan. It is a juridical entity established by the Bank of Japan Act. It has no governmental character nor is it a private corporation. The law states that the bank’s objectives are to issue banknotes, carry out monetary control and monitor the stability of Japan’s financial system. The law also stipulates price stability as the main objective of the bank which will contribute to the development of the national economy.
The Bank of Japan started its operations on the 10th of October 1882 as a central bank under the laws of that country. The original statutes were modified in 1942 due to the war situation and after this conflict ended, the bank’s regulations were modified again. In 1949 the Policy Board was set as the governing body and responsible for making the most important decisions of the bank. The law of 1942 was completely revised in 1997 and it was stipulated that the bank’s independence and transparency were fundamental pillars of the bank.
The organisation of the bank is divided as follows:
Graph 70. Organization Chart. Retrieved 15th February 2018, from https://www.boj.or.jp/en/about/organization/chart.pdf
The Policy Board was established as the most important bank entity for decision making. The board examines the guidelines for monetary and currency control, establishes the basic principles to carry out the operations of the bank and supervises the fulfilment of the duties of bank officials.
It is composed of 9 people. The Governor who represents the bank and exercises general control over the affairs of the bank, two Deputy Governors who assist the governor and they control some matters of the bank, and six members of the Policy Board who serve as support for the Governor and Deputy Governors. They are also in charge of other matters of the bank.
Then there are the Bank’s Officers who are made up of the Governor, the Deputy Governors, the members of the board of directors, auditors, executive directors and counsellors. These officers are responsible for managing the operations of banks, to ensure that employees comply with the required tasks and assist in the tasks of the Policy Board.
Finally, there are the Departments, Branches, Local Offices in Japan, and Overseas Representative Offices. There are 15 departments, 32 branches and 14 local offices in Japan and 7 overseas representative offices
The bank is capitalised by 100 million Yen due to the bylaws, and 55% of the capital is subscribed by the government. The law does not grant the holders of the subscription certificates the right to participate in the management of the bank and in the event of liquidation they are only granted the right to request the distribution of the remaining assets up to the sum of the paid-in capital. Dividend payments in paid-up capital are limited to 5% or less each fiscal period.
The central objective of the monetary policy of the bank is the stability of prices. It was stipulated as an objective from 2013 that the maximum rate of annual growth of prices was 2%, this rate promotes economic growth and the well-being of the population. Price stability is important because it provides the basis for the nation’s economic activity.
In a market economy where there is a diversity of markets, individuals and companies make decisions about consuming, investing or saving according to the prices of goods and services in addition to the interest rates of the financial system. When prices fluctuate beyond what is expected, it is difficult for agents to make decisions and this may hinder the efficient allocation of resources and revenues.
The Policy Board of the bank decides on the basic stance of monetary policy in its meetings, discusses the economic and financial situation and then makes an appropriate guide for monetary policy operations. After each meeting, the bank publishes its evaluations of the economic activity and the price level, as well as the position adopted by the monetary policy in the short term.
According to the guidelines stipulated by the board, the bank controls the amount of money circulating in the economy, mainly through Money Market Operations. The central bank offers funds to financial institutions through loans that are backed by guarantees given to the central bank.
The meetings of the board of the central bank are held eight times a year and each meeting takes two days of discussions. At each meeting, the members of the board of directors discuss and decide on the guidance of future operations in the money market. Monetary policy decisions are taken by majority vote of the nine members of the Policy Board.
One aspect that has become widespread but is still important is the independence of the central bank since the decisions made by the bank have an impact on the daily life of the Japanese people. The bank and its employees conduct economic and financial system research to be well informed about the most appropriate decision on monetary policy.