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Bank of Japan chief may leave early

Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa has long preached caution on monetary policy.


Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa has long preached caution on monetary policy.

TOKYO — The governor of the Japanese central bank, Masaaki Shirakawa, said Tuesday that he had offered to step down on March 19, three weeks before the end of his term, under intense government pressure on the bank to take bolder steps to resuscitate the deflationary economy.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to replace Shirakawa, who has long preached caution on monetary policy, with a successor who is more open to printing money, stoking inflation, and bringing an end to the falling prices that have weighed on Japan.

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During his five-year term, Shirakawa resisted calls from successive governments to be more aggressive, warning that loose money would only lead to unchecked government spending and runaway inflation.

Since late last year, Abe has taken the bank to task, singling out its tepid monetary policies as the root of Japan’s economic woes.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Shirakawa explained that he had offered to step down early to time his departure from the bank with those of his two deputies, whose terms end March 19.

It was unclear late Tuesday whether the prime minister would agree to an early departure.

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