Minister makes rare visit to Bank of Japan

For the first time in 15 years, a finance minister crossed the threshold of the Bank of Japan for a one-hour tour in a move befitting the approach of Diet debate on increasing the central bank’s autonomy.

Hiroshi Mitsuzuka made use of a break in Diet deliberations to visit the Bank of Japan, saying he wanted to see first hand the operations of the “bank of banks” — the first such visit since the late Michio Watanabe dropped by in March 1982. “Seeing is believing,” Mitsuzuka told reporters after completing the tour. He said that the day’s observations would be indirectly helpful once debate on bills for revising the BOJ Law begins, probably some time next week.

The government proposed bill, once enacted, would give more power to the BOJ’s policy board and increase the transparency of its policymaking, especially on monetary issues. At the same time, it would require the bank to be held more accountable for its actions through such means as mandatory presentations before the Diet.