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The Great Intervention and Massive Money Injection: The Japanese Experience 2003-2004


  • Tsutomu Watanabe

    (Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo)

  • Tomoyoshi Yabu

    (Faculty of Business and Commerce, Keio University)


From the beginning of 2003 to the spring of 2004, Japan's monetary authorities conducted large-scale yen-selling/dollar-buying operations in what Taylor (2006) has labeled the "Great Intervention." This paper examines the relationship between this "Great Intervention" and the quantitative easing policy the Bank of Japan was pursuing at that time. First, we find that about 40 percent of the yen funds supplied to the market by yen-selling interventions were not offset by the BOJ's monetary operations and remained in the market for a while; this is in contrast with the preceding period, when almost 100 percent were immediately offset. Second, comparing interventions and other government payments, the extent to which the funds were offset was much smaller in the case of interventions, suggesting that the BOJ differentiated between, and responded differently to, interventions and other government payments. These two findings indicate that it is likely that the BOJ intentionally did not sterilize yen-selling interventions to achieve its policy target of maintaining the current account balances of commercial banks at the BOJ at a high level. Finally, we find that an unsterilized intervention had a greater impact on the yen-dollar rate than a sterilized one, suggesting that it matters whether an intervention is sterilized or not even when the economy is in a liquidity trap

Suggested Citation

  • Tsutomu Watanabe & Tomoyoshi Yabu, 2011. "The Great Intervention and Massive Money Injection: The Japanese Experience 2003-2004," CARF F-Series CARF-F-266, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
  • Handle: RePEc:cfi:fseres:cf266

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Takatoshi Ito, 2003. "Is foreign exchange intervention effective? The Japanese experiences in the 1990s," Chapters,in: Monetary History, Exchange Rates and Financial Markets, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    3. Svensson, Lars-E-O, 2001. "The Zero Bound in an Open Economy: A Foolproof Way of Escaping from a Liquidity Trap," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(S1), pages 277-312, February.
    4. Kearns, Jonathan & Rigobon, Roberto, 2005. "Identifying the efficacy of central bank interventions: evidence from Australia and Japan," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 31-48, May.
    5. Eggertsson, Gauti B., 2006. "The Deflation Bias and Committing to Being Irresponsible," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(2), pages 283-321, March.
    6. Chih‐Nan Chen & Tsutomu Watanabe & Tomoyoshi Yabu, 2012. "A New Method for Identifying the Effects of Foreign Exchange Interventions," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(8), pages 1507-1533, December.
    7. Rasmus Fatum & Michael M. Hutchison, 2005. "Foreign Exchange Intervention and Monetary Policy in Japan, 2003-2004," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d05-93, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    8. Rasmus Fatum & Michael M. Hutchison, 2004. "Foreign Exchange Intervention and Monetary Policy in Japan, 2003-04," EPRU Working Paper Series 05-05, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
    9. Mark P. Taylor & Lucio Sarno, 2001. "Official Intervention in the Foreign Exchange Market: Is It Effective and, If So, How Does It Work?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 839-868, September.
    10. Mark M. Spiegel, 2003. "Japanese foreign exchange intervention," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue dec12.
    11. Ito, Takatoshi & Yabu, Tomoyoshi, 2007. "What prompts Japan to intervene in the Forex market? A new approach to a reaction function," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 193-212, March.
    12. Rasmus Fatum & Michael Hutchison, 2005. "Foreign exchange intervention and monetary policy in Japan, 2003–04," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 241-260, November.
    13. Hayashi, Fumio, 2001. "Identifying a Liquidity Effect in the Japanese Interbank Market," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(2), pages 287-315, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra & McCauley, Robert N. & Ueda, Kazuo, 2016. "Currency intervention and the global portfolio balance effect: Japanese lessons," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 1-16.
    2. repec:eee:jimfin:v:75:y:2017:i:c:p:32-46 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ronald McDonald & Xuxin Mao, 2016. "Japan's Currency Intervention Regimes: A Microstructural Analysis with Speculation and Sentiment," Working Papers 2016_06, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    4. Bernal, Oscar & Gnabo, Jean-Yves, 2009. "Announcements, financial operations or both? Generalizing central banks' FX reaction functions," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 367-394, December.
    5. Kaoru Hosono & Shogo Isobe, "undated". "The Financial Market Impact of Unconventional Monetary Policies in the U.S., the U.K., the Eurozone, and Japan," Discussion papers ron259, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan.
    6. Hayo, Bernd & Ono, Hiroyuki, 2015. "Explaining inflation in the period of quantitative easing in Japan: Relative-price changes, aggregate demand, and monetary policy," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 72-85.
    7. Val Lambson & Shinji Takagi & Issei Kozuru, 2014. "Foreign Exchange Intervention and Monetary Policy: A Tale of Two Agencies with Conflicting Objectives," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 976-991, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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