Thursday 18 January 2018

BOJ says will disclose findings of probe into negative rate leak

Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda attends a seminar in Tokyo, Japan, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Yuya Shino
Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda attends a seminar in Tokyo, Japan, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Monday he will publish the outcome of investigations the central bank is conducting into a media leak of its impending decision last month to deploy negative interest rates.

The online edition of Japanese daily Nikkei ran a story saying the BOJ was discussing adopting a negative interest rate policy several minutes before the bank's official announcement of the decision on January 29.

The yen weakened and Tokyo stock prices jumped on the report, which did not identify its source.

The BOJ has taken some heat over the report, which opposition party lawmakers criticised in parliament as giving investors with access to the Nikkei an unfair trading advantage over those who had no access.

"According to our investigations so far, there was no exchange of information between BOJ staff" and the Nikkei that could have led to the report, Kuroda told parliament on Monday.

"We plan to publicise the outcome of our investigations," he added, though he did not say when it will become available.

Kuroda said the BOJ was also not aware of any prohibited exchange of information between the Nikkei and government representatives present at the rate review.

The Nikkei was not immediately available to comment.

Several senior BOJ officials and two government representatives - one from the Finance Ministry and another from the Cabinet Office - attend BOJ rate reviews where its nine board members set monetary policy.

Everyone present at the meeting is prohibited by law from leaking information on what was discussed before the official announcement is made.

Finance Minister Taro Aso told the same parliamentary meeting that his ministry was cooperating with the BOJ's investigations, and that no staff from his ministry was so far found to be involved in the leak.

Shuichi Takatori, state minister of the Cabinet Office who attended the January 29 rate review as a government representative, denied any wrongdoing and said he had given the same response when questioned during the investigation.


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