Haruhiko Kuroda faced another split board on Tuesday, this time made up of junior high school students getting a crash course in policy making from Japan’s central bank chief.
The 29 students attending a summer seminar hosted by the Bank of Japan 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, weren’t 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.
“Governor 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 Governor 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 isn’t 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.