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BOJ further shakes up regime as Amamiya returns from Osaka

Bloomberg

Masayoshi Amamiya, head of the Bank of Japan’s Osaka branch, has returned to Tokyo after only a year to oversee policy planning at the central bank, adding to a leadership reshuffle under incoming Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda.

Amamiya, 57, takes up his new job as executive director in charge of policy planning Monday, the BOJ said in a statement in Tokyo. Shigeki Kushida takes over as Osaka branch head.

The return of Amamiya, who led the BOJ’s monetary affairs department when the bank adopted a 1 percent inflation goal last year, may help Kuroda engineer a shift toward a more aggressive monetary policy stance. With current Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa set to step down with his two deputies Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Barclays PLC expect the BOJ to add stimulus as soon as the next policy meeting, on April 3 and 4.

“This signifies the end of Shirakawa era,” said Hiromichi Shirakawa of Credit Suisse Group AG in Tokyo and a ex-BOJ official, who is not related to the current BOJ governor. “The BOJ is aware that it needs to change not only its mindset toward monetary easing, but also its personnel.

“Amamiya is known for his willingness for more easing, especially buying more bonds,” Shirakawa said, adding that it is unusual for a branch manager to return to Tokyo after only one year.

Kuroda, who said last week he wants to discuss easing “soon,” has repeatedly said that monetary policy alone can end the deflation that has afflicted the Japanese largest economy for 15 years.

Policy options under the new BOJ leadership include accelerating bond-purchase plans and extending the maturity of debt that the central bank buys, Kyohei Morita, chief economist at Barclays in Tokyo, said in a research report dated March 15.

Before moving to Osaka, Amamiya oversaw the bank’s monetary affairs department from 2006 to 2012. He was promoted to executive director in 2010.