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Colleagues to decide amount of Shirakawa’s farewell bonus

Bloomberg

After five years running the Bank of Japan, Masaaki Shirakawa will get a cash bonus of as much as ¥29.6 million or as little as nothing, depending on how Policy Board members rate his tenure.

The six members who remain when Shirakawa and his two deputies step down on March 19 will grade their former colleagues, according to the BOJ. A maximum rating on a scale of zero to two would give Shirakawa enough to dine at Tokyo’s Narisawa — voted Asia’s best restaurant — every night for 3½ years, but not enough for the priciest tuna at the Tsukiji market.

The assessment may shed light on members’ views of a stint in which Shirakawa failed to pull the nation out of deflation even as he protected the financial system from shocks. The government’s nominee to succeed Shirakawa, Haruhiko Kuroda, said this week the BOJ could buy longer-maturity bonds and bring forward open-ended asset purchases due to start next year.

“Accountability is an important element if the BOJ is going to gain the confidence of markets,” said Robert Feldman, head of Japan economic research at Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Co. in Tokyo. “It’s really important to establish benchmarks and expectations for the future as to what you have to do to be considered to have performed well.”

A BOJ spokeswoman said she could not provide information on the timing of the assessment or its criteria.

The only previous governor to be scored on the scale was Shirakawa’s predecessor, Toshihiko Fukui, who received a mark of 1.5, according to the spokeswoman. The rating is multiplied by monthly salary and months of service, and then divided by eight to determine the amount.

Shirakawa’s monthly pay is about ¥2 million, while his deputies, Hirohide Yamaguchi and Kiyohiko Nishimura, earn about ¥1.6 million, according to the BOJ.

Reserve Bank of Australia Gov. Glenn Stevens is among the most highly paid central bankers, with a total compensation of 986,778 Australian dollars ($1 million) in the year through last June.

The next Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, will get basic pay of £480,000 ($720,000) a year, more than the combined salaries of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and European Central Bank Gov. Mario Draghi.

Lending up 1.5%

jiji

The balance of lending by Japanese banks for February increased 1.5 percent from a year before to ¥464.223 trillion, rising for the 16th consecutive month, the Bank of Japan said Friday.

Major banks boosted loans by 1.1 percent to ¥197.999 trillion as demand for funds was strong among power utilities in need of cash to buy fuel and other firms planning corporate acquisitions.