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Tumultuous TimesCentral Banking in an Era of Crisis$
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Masaaki Shirakawa

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780300258974

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300258974.001.0001

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Sixfold Suffering and the Currency War

Sixfold Suffering and the Currency War

(p.272) Chapter Fourteen Sixfold Suffering and the Currency War
Tumultuous Times

Masaaki Shirakawa

Yale University Press

This chapter highlights the economic policy debates about the appreciation of the yen which occurred during the author's five-year tenure as governor of the Bank of Japan. The term sixfold suffering (rokujuku in Japanese) entered the popular vocabulary around 2010. It was a cliché used by many business leaders to express their frustration with economic forces beyond their control that handicapped Japanese businesses in international competition. The bank faced continual calls to beat deflation, but the voices demanding a halt to the appreciation of the yen were even louder. “Beating deflation” was simply shorthand for “improving economic conditions,” and many business leaders instinctively understood that monetary policy alone was not an adequate remedy. But many thought that aggressive monetary easing could halt the appreciation of the yen's exchange rate. The relationship between exchange rates and monetary policy — particularly in the so-called currency war — also became the focus of international policy debates among central bankers.

Keywords:   economic policy debates, yen, Bank of Japan, Japanese business leaders, Japanese businesses, deflation, monetary policy, monetary easing, exchange rates, currency war

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