BOJ Board Nominee Junko Nakagawa in Her Own Words

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Junko Nakagawa, a Nomura Holdings executive picked by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to join the Bank of Japan’s board, is seen as a policy moderate who’s likely to support the board’s current direction after her trailblazing rise in Japan’s male-dominated finance industry.

Nakagawa, now 55, was the first woman appointed to Nomura’s board, where she served as the group’s chief financial officer in the early 2010s, before becoming head of the asset management unit in 2019. If approved, she would replace Takako Masai, another former banker, as the only woman on the BOJ’s nine-member board.

BOJ Board Nominee Junko Nakagawa in Her Own Words

A member of several government panels on gender issues, Nakagawa was the only woman among a group of executives handpicked by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to meet with Donald Trump when he visited Tokyo as U.S. president.

While little is known of her leanings on monetary policy, Nakagawa has spoken publically about the need for more Japanese investment in financial markets, the country’s culture of risk aversion and its struggles with boosting diversity. Here are some of her comments over the last few years:

On Being CEO at Nomura Asset

“The most important issue I’m looking at as CEO is how to shape a large shift from savings to investment. It’s been pushed for a long time, but only 4% of individuals’ managed assets are in investment funds.

“When that rate increases, that’s probably when Japan’s culture itself has changed. Once there’s a larger pool of individuals who own risk assets, that will help firms looking to finance growth. I believe that it’s a social imperative for asset management firms to facilitate this flow.”

--Nikkei Style, April 2020

On the BOJ ETF Buys

“The BOJ’s purchases of ETFs as part of its monetary policy has drawn the attention of investors. As result, the number of ETF investors in Japan has increased in recent years, especially among institutional investors.”

--Nikkei, October 2020

On Working as Nomura CFO

“When I took on the CFO role, the impact from the European debt crisis was still dragging on and financial markets were unstable. The company’s earnings were also in a tough situation. But when things are somewhat bad you’re able to take on challenges with a better sense of purpose, especially compared to when conditions are easier. I had to deal with tough, sometimes stomach-churning feedback during earnings seasons, but looking back I learned a lot from it.”

--President Woman, December 2019

On Diversity

“The word diversity is used a lot, but diversity doesn’t just mean gender. If you cling to any single set of values or way of thinking, growth slows and you become unable to deal with change. Diversity means bringing different ways of thinking into an organization, and having the flexibility to accept views and opinions that are different.”

“When there’s no clear answer to a problem, we need to keep on trying new things. It’s being bold in thinking about whether there are other paths you can take, and not being tied down by existing methods. For that, you need the ability to think for yourself, and change the status quo.”

--Woman Type, August 2019

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