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Japanese Ask, What’s Wrong With a Little Deflation?

Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- As Haruhiko Kuroda tries to spur Japan’s inflation rate, he faces a worrying question: What if his Bank of Japan predecessor was right about why he will fail?

In June 2011, then-BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa faced extreme pressure to double the monetary base, a step Kuroda took just days after replacing him in March. When Shirakawa, a University of Chicago-trained economist, was asked why he’d refused to budge, he offered a surprising excuse: Japan’s aging population, whose fixed incomes would be eaten away by rising prices. Politicians thought the rationale was a copout. Shinzo Abe’s first act as prime minister was to dump Shirakawa.