BOJ Replaces Key Policy Planner Amid New Focus on Yield Control

  • Uchida has played a crucial role in Kuroda’s stimulus
  • JPMorgan economist sees change as evidence of new focus

The Bank of Japan changed the director general of its monetary affairs department for the first time under Haruhiko Kuroda’s governorship, a move that some analysts said reflects the shift from ever-increasing stimulus to yield-curve control.

Takeshi Kato, 52, the director general of the information system services department, will succeed Shinichi Uchida. Uchida, who held the position since May 2012, will become the branch manager of the Nagoya office.

“This underscores that the BOJ is no longer in the mode of pursuing stimulus policies further and further,” said Masamichi Adachi, a former central bank official and currently a senior economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “Kato’s thinking is unknown but it’s unlikely that the BOJ will change what it’s doing now. They still have Kuroda at the very top.”

Kato will report to Masayoshi Amamiya, the executive director who oversees both monetary affairs and markets. Uchida, Amamiya and Kazuhiro Masaki were the key officials running Kuroda’s aggressive monetary policy since 2013. The personnel changes may reinforce the view among many economists that there will be no further expansion under Kuroda, whose term ends in April next year.

Read more: The story of the key trio for monetary affairs.

Kato has previous experience in the policy planning division of the monetary affairs department and helped design an earlier asset-purchase scheme that was subsumed into Kuroda’s bigger program.

During Uchida’s term, the BOJ also dove into a negative interest rate policy, before adopting in September last year the yield-curve control program.

“There is no doubt about the importance of Uchida’s role in aggressive easing,” Adachi said. “This shows the BOJ has finally got some room to catch its breath and make personnel changes.”

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