A Masterclass from the Bank of Japan
There seems to have been some problem with the Bank of Japan’s translation department this morning. Fortunately, I’ve discovered a secret feature of Google Translate which lets me translate from Central Bankerese into English. This is how today’s BoJ announcement comes out:
The Bank of Japan conducts monetary policy based on the principle that the policy shall be aimed at “achieving price stability, thereby contributing to the sound development of the national economy.”
When we say “price stability” we mean exactly that. No overall movement in the CPI level. We hope this is very, very clear. Mr. Shinzo Abe wants us to set a 2% inflation target. Who does he think he is?
Mr. Abe talks about “targets”, but we like to talk about “aspirations”. Specifically, “vague aspirations”. What we really want is 0% inflation, as we said. But because Mr Abe keeps nagging us, we are putting out this announcement to keep him happy. So we’ll state clearly today that we have a vague aspiration towards hitting a 2% inflation target.
Because Mr. Abe is not content with mere announcements, he also wants us to take action. He is keen on this idea of printing unlimited amounts of money. So we’ll do that. But not today! Oh no! Not tomorrow, either. Nor next month. Don’t be silly. In fact the printing money business will have to wait until January 2014. We are quite busy here at the Bank of Japan, you know!
By delaying the printing money business until 2014 we are sure you will appreciate that we have not compromised one iota in our intent to hit our 0% inflation target. This also gives us a lot of time to think up some new excuses about why it’s really difficult and/or dangerous to hit a 2% inflation target. Hopefully that annoying guy Abe will be gone by then as well.
This announcement continues in the long tradition of obfuscation and failure which we embrace here at the Bank of Japan. Our motto remains: “The Worlds’ Most Inept Central Bank”.
Governor Shirakawa and friends
Governor Masaaki Shirakawa and six of his nine fellow board members voted for a 2 percent inflation target, to be achieved “at the earliest possible time” — a pace not sustained in Japan since the early 1990s. While judging that the “economy remains relatively weak,” and that consumer prices will be flat for the time being, the BOJ refrained from adding any immediate stimulus.
Consumer prices are expected to remain flat, and they’re not doing any stimulus. Who could claim they are trying to inflate?