Outgoing Bank of Japan Gov. Masaru Hayami on Wednesday credited his faith in God for pulling him through a turbulent and difficult five-year term.

“I would always think back to the scripture, and the verse, ‘Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: And lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee,’ ” he told a congregation of reporters.

On his last day as governor, Hayami said he spent many sleepless nights at the top.

He said one of his most trying times came in March 2001, when the BOJ had to adopt its current monetary policy — force-feeding banks with excess funds in the hope that some would trickle down and help a frail economy.

The tactic of so-called quantitative monetary easing was adopted amid an outcry from ruling party politicians. The policy effectively revived and reinforced the zero interest rate policy, which had kept the overnight interest rate between banks virtually at zero between February 1999 and August 2000.

“It was a very difficult decision to make, ” he said. “It was the first time that this had been done. I was very unsure and even felt fear.

“At times like those, I would remember . . . that God is always with me, that Jesus loves me and that He sees and knows all,” said Hayami, a Lutheran. “That so long as I make the right decision, He will protect me.”

Hayami hands over the reins to former Deputy BOJ Gov. Toshihiko Fukui on Thursday.

Next week, he will celebrate his 78th birthday.

“I have grown old,” he said with a laugh. “If old age is an ordeal granted us by God, then I want to make growing old one of my next goals in life.”

He then said he looks forward to catching up on sleep, television and his reading.

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