This paper re-examines Japan's experience of the quantitative easing policy in light of the policy responses against the current financial and economic crisis. Central banks use various unconventional measures in the range of financial assets being purchased and in the scale of such purchases. As the scope of such unconventional measures expands, it is often emphasized that the U.S. Federal Reserve policy reactions focus more on the asset side of its balance sheet, the so-called credit easing. By contrast, the Bank of Japan's quantitative easing policy from 2001 to 2006 set a target for the current account balances, the liability side of its balance sheet. It is crucial to understand that central banks combine the two elements of their balance sheets, size and composition, to enhance the overall effects of unconventional policy measures, given constraints on policy implementation.
Keywords: Quantitative easing; Credit easing; Unconventional monetary policy; Central bank balance sheet
Views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Japan or Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies.