Ex-BOJ Shirakawa Aghast at Lehman Fallout: 2009 Transcript


Tokyo, July 16 (Jiji Press)--Then Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa was aghast at severe Japanese economic contraction following the September 2008 collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers, a BOJ meeting transcript showed Tuesday.

"The figures are so bad I'm nearly struck speechless," Shirakawa said of gross domestic product data in a monetary policy meeting session on Feb. 19, 2009, according to the transcript. On Tuesday, the BOJ released transcripts of its policy meetings held in January-June that year.

The session's transcript also indicated the agony of then policymakers, who were facing harsh criticism that the BOJ's response to the global financial crisis triggered by Lehman's failure had been slow compared with its U.S. counterpart.

The preliminary GDP data for October-December 2008, announced just before the February 2009 meeting, showed that Japan's economy plunged an annualized 12.7 pct from the previous quarter in price-adjusted real terms, led by slumping production and exports.

The world was in "its worst simultaneous recession since World War II," then policymaker Seiji Nakamura said.

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