September 22, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: BOJ' new policy phase highlights failure of monetary easing experiment
黒田日銀の転換 あの約束は何だったか

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) comprehensively reviewed its large-scale monetary easing policy, which it carried out under the leadership of Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda, and announced a new framework for its bond-buying program to keep the yield of the bellwether 10-year Japanese government debt at around zero percent.
無謀な実験は失敗に終わったということだ。
日銀が、黒田東彦総裁のもとで進めてきた大規模金融緩和策の「総括的な検証」を行い、併せて「新しい枠組み」を発表した。

Roughly 3 1/2 years have passed since the BOJ began quantitative and qualitative easing of its monetary grip as the "first arrow" of the Abenomics economic policy mix promoted by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. However, the fact that the BOJ has been forced to review the policy and change its framework clearly demonstrates that the policy has reached a deadlock.
アベノミクス第一の矢として注目を集めた「量的・質的金融緩和」が始まり約3年半になるが、こうした検証や枠組みの変更が必要になったこと自体、行き詰まりを如実に示している。

At a news conference, the BOJ would not admit that its policy has failed. Gov. Kuroda categorically denied that the central bank had been forced to change the policy framework due to limits of its monetary policy.
日銀自身は、誤りを認めようとしない。黒田総裁は、政策の限界が枠組みの変更をもたらしたとの見方を、記者会見で強く否定した。

幻の「2年で2%」

The BOJ even praised the achievements it has made through its monetary easing policy saying, "Over that period (when the policy was implemented), the situation surrounding Japan's economy and consumer prices greatly improved, and Japan has overcome deflation in that consumer prices no longer keep declining."
それどころか日銀は、「この間に、わが国の経済・物価は大きく好転し、物価が持続的に下落するという意味でのデフレではなくなった」と自賛してみせた。

The central bank claimed that Japan's failure to achieve its target of an annual inflation rate of 2 percent over the space of about two years is attributable to a sharp drop in crude oil prices, a consumption tax increase from 5 percent to 8 percent in April 2014, the slowdown of emerging countries' economies, and Japanese people's unique views on consumer prices. The BOJ thus denied that the failure was a result of problems involving the central bank's ultra-easy money policy.
肝心の年2%の物価上昇目標は達成していないが、日銀の政策に問題があったからではなく、原油価格の大幅下落、消費税の引き上げ、新興国経済の減速、さらに日本人の物価観の特殊性のせいだと分析した。

When the BOJ announced at a news conference on April 4, 2013 that it would launch an ultra-easy money policy, Gov. Kuroda showed off panels bearing "2 percent," and "2 years," and appeared confident of the credit easing policy it had just approved.  時計の針を2013年4月4日に戻してみよう。
「2%、2年……」−−。記者会見に臨んだ黒田総裁は、大きく記した「2」が並ぶパネルを自ら手にし、決定したての金融緩和策に自信満々だった。

Kuroda emphasized that the central bank's new policy was different from its past policies on three points. Firstly, the BOJ stated a target year for achieving 2 percent inflation. Secondly, the central bank not only verbally promised to achieve the goal but also took unprecedented action to purchase a massive amount of government bonds in an attempt to convince the public that consumer prices would rise. Thirdly, the BOJ pledged to avoid implementing small-scale additional measures bit by bit.
従来の日銀との違いとして強調したポイントは主に三つだ。2%の目標達成まで「2年程度」と期限を切って結果を約束したこと。口約束でなく、国債の大量購入という異例の行動を伴わせ、人々に物価上昇を信じ込ませようとしたこと。そして従来のような小出しの追加策を重ねたりしないと言い切ったことだ。

The central bank governor declared at the time, "We've adopted all measures that are necessary now to achieve the goal of a 2 percent annual inflation within two years."
「2年で2%の物価安定目標を達成するために、現時点で必要な措置は全て決定した」と総裁は胸を張った。

Deputy Gov. Kikuo Iwata, who joined the central bank simultaneously with Kuroda, even stated that he would step down if the central bank failed to achieve the inflation target within two years. He later retracted his statement saying, "I meant that I must place priority on fulfilling my accountability."
同じ時期に日銀入りした岩田規久男副総裁は、2年で2%を達成できない場合、辞任するとまで宣言していた。後に「説明責任を果たすことが先決というのが真意だった」と撤回したが、

The BOJ had initially stated that the 2 percent target could be achieved if the central bank drastically increased the volume of money it supplied to the market. Yet the target has not been reached.
日銀がお金の量を本気で増やしさえすれば、2%の目標は達成できるというのが、当時の約束だった。
結果はそうならなかった。

The BOJ postponed the target date for achieving an inflation rate of 2 percent whenever it announced its outlook for consumer prices in each quarter. In October 2014, the central bank drastically increased the amount of money it supplied, but remained far from being able to achieve the inflation target.
日銀は四半期に1度の物価見通し発表のたびに、2%の達成時期を先送りした。14年10月には、お金の量の増やし方を拡大したが、それでも約2年で2%は遠く及ばなかった。

In reviewing its policy, the BOJ cited the effects of the consumption tax increase in 2014 and the slowdown of other countries' economies as the reasons why the target had not been achieved. But BOJ executives are experts in monetary policy. They cannot make excuses by saying these factors were beyond the scope of their assumptions.
日銀は検証の中で、14年の消費税引き上げの影響や海外の景気の鈍化を挙げているが、政策のプロなら、想定外とは言い訳できないだろう。

True, crude oil prices plummeted more sharply than had been widely predicted. In reviewing its policy, the BOJ said that Japanese people's predictions of future consumer prices are largely affected by the actual fluctuation in consumer prices that is going on. The central bank pointed out that prolonged deflation as well as labor-management negotiations on pay raises during the so-called spring labor offensive, which are unique to Japan, have made the Japanese economy more susceptible to short-term consumer price declines. However, these are nothing but excuses and attempts to shift the blame.
確かに原油価格の激しい下落は、予想の域を超えたものだった。これについて日銀の検証は、米国などに比べ、日本人の将来の物価予想が、現実の物価動向に左右されやすいためだとした。長引いたデフレや、春闘という日本特有の賃上げ交渉が、短期的な物価下落の影響を受けやすくしていると説くが、明らかな言い訳、責任転嫁である。

The BOJ's new framework and its dumping of the two-year deadline for achieving its target represents a great transformation in its policies, from one placing emphasis on the amount of money supplied to the market to one that places more importance on interest rates.
「2年で達成」をあっさりと葬り新たに導入した枠組みは、異次元緩和を支える、お金の量に主軸を置いた政策から金利重視の政策への大転換だ。

The BOJ has also been forced to modify its negative interest policy, which it introduced in February this year, because critics have pointed out numerous problems, such as a decrease in financial institutions' profits, and difficulties that public pension funds and others face in investing money over the long term to gain stable yields.
しかも、今年2月に導入したばかりのマイナス金利政策も、金融機関の収益を圧迫したり、年金など長期の運用を一段と困難なものにしたりと弊害が多く指摘されたため、修正を余儀なくされた。

市場をゆがめた責任

Under the previous framework, market players expected the BOJ to further relax its monetary grip whenever it became certain the central bank would postpone the target year for achieving a 2 percent inflation rate. The central bank's monetary policy thus became a major matter of concern for market players. The framework change will likely rectify the situation.
従来の枠組みでは、物価上昇率2%の達成時期が先送りされそうになるたびに市場から追加緩和期待が出ていた。自らまいた種ではあるが、日銀の政策があまりにも市場の主要関心事になり過ぎた。それが改善されるメリットはあるだろう。

Still, questions remain as to whether the BOJ can control not only short-term interest rates but also long-term interest rates governing yields on 10-year government bonds to attain levels which the central bank regards as desirable. Long-term interest rates should be determined by the market. The rates can sound an alarm over the government's irresponsible use of taxpayers' money. Monetary policy that restricts such a function of long-term interest rates deserves criticism as excessive market intervention by the central bank.
しかし、短期金利だけでなく長期金利(10年物国債の利回り)まで日銀が望ましいと思う水準に管理することが可能かという疑念は残る。さらに、長期金利は本来、市場が決めるものだ。例えば無責任な財政支出に対して、警告のシグナルを送る。その機能を縛る政策は過剰な市場介入ではないか。

Needless to say, what now must be brought up is the question of responsibility for failure of the experiment, which the BOJ began on its promise to achieve a 2 percent inflation rate within about two years.
当然、問われるべきは、「2年を念頭に達成」との約束で始めた実験の失敗の責任である。

The BOJ has amassed over 450 trillion yen worth of assets. This includes government bonds whose prices could plummet in the future and investment trust funds. And the amount is expected to increase. It is a matter that could affect the credibility of the yen.
日銀のもとには、将来値下がりの恐れがある国債や投資信託といった資産が450兆円以上も積み上がった。今後も当分の間、増加を続けるだろう。円という通貨の信用にかかわる問題だ。

How to normalize the bond market, which has been distorted because it has relied on the BOJ's massive purchase of government bonds, will pose a serious challenge. If the annual inflation rate is stabilized at over 2 percent, the BOJ will need to decrease the amount of government bonds it buys on a step-by-step basis.
日銀による大量購入に依存し、ゆがみきった国債市場を、将来どうやって正常化するかという難題も待ち受ける。物価の上昇率が持続して2%を超えるようになれば、日銀は段階的に国債の購入額を減らしていかねばならない。

However, if the BOJ hints at its intention to withdraw from the bond market as a major buyer, it could cause market prices of government bonds to sharply decrease and long-term interest rates to spike.
だが、日銀という巨大な買い手が市場から手を引こうとした途端、価格が急落し、長期金利は急上昇しかねない。

To prevent such a situation, the central bank would have to keep buying government bonds, even though this could generate an economic bubble or cause the economy to overheat.
それを回避しようとすれば、国債購入をいつまでも止められず、バブルや景気の過熱を招く恐れがある。

As such, the central bank will face difficulty in seeking a way out of the policy of buying a massive volume of government bonds.
極めて難易度の高い出口戦略を求められよう。

The BOJ is not solely to blame for the ultra-easy money policy that has left serious problems for Japan's future.
将来に重大な問題を残した異次元緩和策の責任は、日銀だけにあるのではない。

The responsibility of the government, which relied on the "first arrow" of Abenomics, should also be called into question.
アベノミクスの第一の矢に頼った政府の責任も問われる。

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