• Sakurai says he has a master's degrees, not a doctorate
  • Weekly magazine raise questions about Sakurai's BOJ bio

Two members of the Bank of Japan’s board were quizzed by lawmakers after a weekly tabloid magazine raised questions about the academic credentials of new board member Makoto Sakurai.

The biography of Sakurai and Deputy Governor Kikuo Iwata on the bank’s websites says they "completed a Ph.D. program in economics." Both men said on Monday in parliament that this meant that the had completed the course work for a doctorate. Sakurai said he has a master’s degree, not a doctorate.

Kikuo Iwata
Kikuo Iwata
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

The controversy comes as lawmakers increase their scrutiny and criticism of the BOJ since its adoption of negative interest rates in January. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has been called to parliament on 34 days so far this year.

Deputy Governor Hiroshi Nakaso said he doesn’t think the description of Sakurai’s career on the BOJ website is a fabrication, adding that the bank will consider the wording it uses and respond appropriately.

Sakurai, 69, started on the board on April 1 and was previously an economist and researcher. Iwata was an academic and started on the board in 2013.

Sakurai’s official biography on the bank’s website shows shows him working at the Ministry of Finance from 1984, something that the magazine also questioned. Sakurai indicated to parliament on Monday that there may be an issue with the timeline, while stating that he had worked for the ministry.

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