Monetary and Economic Studies vol.38 / November 2020

Monetary Policy in the 1990s: Bank of Japan's Views Summarized Based on the Archives and Other Materials

Masanao Itoh, Yasuko Morita, Mari Ohnuki

This monographic paper summarizes views held by the Bank of Japan (hereafter BOJ or the Bank) in the 1990s regarding economic and financial conditions as well as the conduct of monetary policy, based on materials compiled during the period mainly in its Archives. The following points were confirmed in writing this paper. First, throughout the 1990s, the Bank's thinking behind the conduct of monetary policy had shifted toward emphasizing the transparency of its policy management. The basic background to this seemed to be the growing importance of dialogue with market participants, reflecting a change in the target for money market operations from official discount rate changes to the guiding of money market rates. In addition, the fact that the revised Bank of Japan Act (hereafter the Bank of Japan Act of 1997) came into effect in April 1998 under the two principles of independence and transparency accelerated the trend of attaching importance to transparency. Second, on the back of the emphasis on transparency, the Bank enhanced its communication by increasing its releases in the second half of the 1990s, particularly after the enforcement of the Bank of Japan Act of 1997. Thus, the materials, especially those referred to in the latter half of this paper, consist mainly of the Bank's releases. And third, in the 1990s, the Bank faced a critical situation in which it needed to conduct monetary policy while paying due attention to the functioning of the financial system. Therefore, this paper includes numerous references to the issues regarding the financial system, mainly the disposal of nonperforming loans.

Keywords: Monetary policy conduct; Disposal of nonperforming loans; Financial system crisis; Bank of Japan Act of 1997; Zero interest rate policy

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.

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