• Bloomberg


Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda faced another split board, this time made up of junior high school students getting a crash course in policymaking.

The 29 students attending a summer seminar Tuesday hosted by the central bank were presented with a scenario that would challenge most central bankers: what to do when the economy is heating up with land prices rising in the capital at the same time risks are growing as supermarket sales fall and wealthy people cut spending in response to a drop in stock prices.

The students, arranged in five groups, were not sure: One advised standing pat, two proposed easing monetary policy and two tightening.

Kuroda’s recommendation: Keep policy unchanged. In the end, three groups followed his advice, and two voted against.

“Gov. Kuroda had a powerful presence when presiding over the decision,” said 12-year-old Kakeru Sato, who retracted his proposal to tighten policy and ended up backing Gov. Kuroda’s call. “I changed my mind after hearing other views on the economy. I realized that the economy isn’t that simple.”

For Kuroda, division in the ranks is not unfamiliar. When he proposed boosting already-unprecedented stimulus to his real policy board last October, he cast the deciding vote in the 5-4 decision. It was closest call since 2008.

“I was impressed by your analysis of the economy and the level of observation of what’s happening under the surface,” Kuroda said after the students had voted.

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