Japan Data

Profiles of BOJ Deputy Governors Iwata Kikuo and Nakaso Hiroshi

Politics Economy

We continue our look at the new team in charge at the Bank of Japan with profiles of Iwata Kikuo and Nakaso Hiroshi, the two deputy governors.

Iwata Kikuo: Leading Economist and Reflation Advocate

Photo: Motoo Naka/AFLO

Academic Iwata Kikuo has been one of the most prominent advocates of reflation policy, and is well known as a strident critic of the Bank of Japan. Iwata has argued that the Bank of Japan is responsible for the country’s inability to break out of its prolonged deflationary spiral, and believes that the bank’s mission should be to achieve medium-term inflationary targets. Iwata came to attention as a professor at Sophia University in the early 1990s, when he was involved in a fierce debate with the Bank of Japan leadership over the money supply.

In policy speeches to steering committees of both houses of the Diet before his appointment, Iwata said that the Bank of Japan had an obligation to reach the 2% inflationary target within two years at the latest. Iwata is determined to achieve results, and has spoken of resignation as “the ultimate means of taking responsibility” if the bank fails to meet the target. It was Iwata who came up with the 2% inflation target that is one of the main pillars of “Abenomics” and advised the Abe government to carry out monetary easing to shake off deflation and weaken the yen.


Born in Osaka in 1942. After doctoral studies at the University of Tokyo, taught at the University of California, Berkeley, Sophia University, and Gakushūin University as a specialist in financial theory and economic policy. Publications include Defure no keizaigaku (The Economics of Deflation), Defure to chōendaka (Deflation and the Ultra-high Yen), and Nihon Ginkō wa shin’yō dekiru ka (Can the Bank of Japan Be Trusted?).

Iwata Kikuo’s article, “The Bank of Japan’s New Price Stability Goal,”  was published on Nippon.com in April 2012.

Nakaso Hiroshi: The BOJ’s Leading Internationalist

Photo: Reuters/AFLO

Nakaso Hiroshi is the one member of the new senior team to have come up through the ranks at the Bank of Japan, where he was formerly executive director for international affairs. He has a reputation as one of the bank’s most internationally minded figures. As head of the bank’s financial systems department, he was in charge of responding to the financial crisis of 1997, when several major banks and securities companies went under. He was later transferred to the Bank for International Settlements. His time as director-general of the Financial Markets Department and chairman of the BIS Markets Committee has given him a wealth of experience in financial systems, market transactions, and international finance.

In his hearing before the Diet as a candidate for the position of deputy governor, Nakaso said he will be prepared to use a full range of policy tools regardless of precedent and declared his intention to follow the progressive easing approach outlined by Kuroda and Iwata. However, he stopped short of setting a deadline for the 2% inflationary target, admitting that the target may not be achieved within two years but promising that it would be achieved “as soon as possible.”


Born in Tokyo in 1953. Joined the Bank of Japan after graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1978. Previous positions include director-general of financial markets department and executive director of the bank (from 2008).

Bank of Japan politics Ministry of Finance economy Iwata Kikuo Nakaso Hiroshi