The Bank of Japan (BoJ), the country’s central bank, has put its top economist in charge of the department responsible for research and development into central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
According to a July 31 report by Reuters, Kazushige Kamiyama, the former Director General of the BoJ’s Research Statistics Development, has been moved to head the Payments and Settlements Systems Department. Since the beginning of the year, this department is heavily involved in a digital currency working group alongside 5 other central banks. It also manages the task force, set up earlier this month, which examines the possible implications of issuing a CBDC in Japan.
Kamiyama has served at the BoJ for more than 6 years, including 2 years at the central bank’s New York offices. During his term as the head of research department, Kamiyama advocated for the bank to use more “Big Data” in analyzing the country’s economy. This approach helped the bank to catch real-time changes affecting the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement also noted that Seisaku Kameda will take over Kamiyama’s position as the central bank’s top economist and head of its statistics department.
Though the BoJ claims it has no immediate plans to launch a digital Yen, research into the potentials of CBDCs is still underway. This latest move indicates how seriously the Japanese central bank is taking the research. Kamiyama’s recent appointment may mark a shift away from the BoJ’s previously cautious nature on digital currencies.
Japan has been cautious about moving quickly into issuing a digital yen, considering the social disruptions it may cause in a country with the most cash-loving population in the world. However, China’s steady progress towards issuing a digital currency has prompted Japan to look more closely into the idea of issuing its own CBDC.