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The Bank of Japan denied Wednesday having inflated staff numbers to secure a larger budget for personnel expenses as some media have reported, but also promised to increase transparency in its wage structure.

Executive Director Shigeru Hikuma told a news conference that the central bank submitted a report requested by Finance Minister Hikaru Matsunaga on its salaries, which are widely criticized as being excessively high.

In the report, the BOJ denied media reports that it had been paying “inappropriate and arbitrary wages which were inconsistent with our salary regulations” by giving the Finance Ministry false figures for staffers. While figures given to the ministry to set up the next fiscal year’s budget did not reflect the real number of staffers at the BOJ, Hikuma explained that they were only 2 percent off at most.

But Hikuma admitted that the lack of transparency regarding its salary structure was one reason behind the suspicions surrounding its employees’ paychecks, and promised to draw up and make public by the end of September a set of standards for staffers’ pay. “It is a fact that during a certain period in the past our wage structure was warped,” he said, pointing to the fact that for some time the salary for a department head was greater than that of an executive director.

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