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NBER WORKING PAPER SERIES

TWO DECADES OF JAPANESE MONETARY POLICY AND THE DEFLATION PROBLEM Takatoshi Ito Frederic S. Mishkin Working Paper 10878 http://www.nber.org/papers/w10878 NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138 October 2004

This paper is written for the NBER 15th East Asian Seminar on Economics, June 25-27, 2004. The authors are grateful to Takeshi Kudo and Emilia Simeonova for their excellent research assistance. We also thank our discussants Ken Kuttner, and Kazuo Ueda, Kunio Okina and participants at seminars at the Bank of Japan, and the East Asian Seminar on Economics. Any views expressed in this paper are the views of the authors only and not the University of Tokyo, Columbia University or the National Bureau of Economic Research. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the National Bureau of Economic Research. © 2004 by Takatoshi Ito and Frederic S. Mishkin. All rights reserved. Short sections of text, not to exceed two paragraphs, may be quoted without explicit permission provided that full credit, including © notice, is given to the source.

Two Decades of Japanese Monetary Policy and the Deflation Problem Takatoshi Ito and Frederic S. Mishkin NBER Working Paper No. 10878 October 2004 JEL No. E42, E52, E58 ABSTRACT This paper reviews Japanese monetary policy over the last two decades with an emphasis on the experience of deflation from the mid-1990s. The paper is quite critical of the conduct of monetary policy, particularly from 1998 to 2003. The Bank of Japan’s rhetoric was not helpful in fighting deflation, and the interest rate hike in August 2000 amid deflation was a serious mistake. Deflation can be quite costly, and a key element in both preventing and escaping deflation is the management of expectations, using either price level or inflation…...

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