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The rise and rise of the BoJís Tadashi Nunami

By: Marie W. Conway

Date Posted: 1999-10-01

The national bank of Japan, Nippon Ginko (Bank of Japan) , has distributed the currency of the Japanese government since 1882. The Bank of Japanís Naha branch General Manager, Tadashi Nunami, recently told me about some of the most interesting aspects of the national bank. The Bank of Japan issues bank notes, lends money to smaller banks, handles fund settlements between other banks and the government, and sets monetary policy to reduce inflation or increase deflation as required by the national economy. The head of the bank at the headquarters in Tokyo, known as the governor, is appointed by the Japanese Cabinet and approved by the Diet.

Nunami worked in Tokyo at the BoJ after graduating from Tokyo University, one of the nationís top universities. Thoroughly impressed by his credentials and his fluent English, the BoJ decided to send him to the United States to get his MBA at Wharton, one of the leading business schools in the world. After graduating with honors, he returned to Tokyo only to be sent to Washington, D.C. a few years later as a visiting scholar at the Brooking Institution. The BoJ wanted Nunami to start a new office in D.C., even though they already had a branch in New York. He successfully completed the project and became the first chief of the D.C. branch. Although Nunami moved to Okinawa in May of last year, he has found time in his busy schedule to learn how to play the sanshin and even won a competition after only two months of study.

He also finds time to voluntarily give lectures to Okinawan university students about international economics and foreign exchange markets. When I asked Nunami what he thought was one of the major factors behind the downfall of some businesses in Japan, he said: "The private sector doesnít stand on its own two feet and relies too heavily on the public sector." He concluded our short interview by saying he thinks the government wants to regulate the business transactions even though they donít know much about how the private sector works.

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