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The Mystery of "BOJ Officials Said"
Was the English Title of the Article by
Bloomberg Altered Afterwards?
(abridged edition)

2016年07月12日(火)16:25公開 [2016年07月12日(火)16:25更新]

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“ZAi FX!” had been reviewing the article written by Masahiro Hidaka, Bloomberg, which shook up the financial market, in a series of four articles as follows.

[Reference articles]
(1) Uncover the Mystery of the Article Written by Masahiro Hidaka, Bloomberg, Which Rattled the Market! (Japanese)

(2) Is He “Anti-Kuroda”? Was the Article by Masahiro Hidaka Based on Leaked Information? (Japanese)

(3) Who are the “Persons Involved (kankei-sha) (with the BOJ)” Mentioned in the Article by Masahiro Hidaka, Bloomberg? (Japanese)

(4) The Mystery of “BOJ Officials Said”: Was the English Title of the Article by Bloomberg Altered Afterwards? (Japanese)

The following article is an abridged edition of (4) above, mainly focusing on the English edition of the article written by Masahiro Hidaka.

The decision made on April 28, 2016, by the Bank of Japan to postpone further easing brought a deep sense of disappointment to the market. Stock prices plunged and the yen surged following the announcement.

However, such an intense response may probably not have been caused solely by the announcement of the BOJ. It is possible that expectations towards additional easing swelled prior to the announcement, with the Bloomberg article “BOJ Officials Are Said to Eye Possible Negative Rate on Loans” by Masahiro Hidaka published on April 22, and that the market reacted severely partly as a backlash. With this hypothesis in mind, “ZAi FX!” has been reviewing some questions involving the article.

Article in question by Masahiro Hidaka, Bloomberg, published on April 22 (Fri) (Japanese edition)
Article in question by Masahiro Hidaka, Bloomberg, published on April 22 (Fri) (Japanese edition)

The article in question was also published in English. In terms of the impact it had on the market, maybe the English edition is more important. However, there is something strange about this English article.

Article in question by Masahiro Hidaka, Bloomberg, published on April 22 (Fri) (English edition)
Article in question by Masahiro Hidaka, Bloomberg, published on April 22 (Fri) (English edition)

Here, I would like to examine this English edition of the article.

Will the information source include “BOJ watchers”?

In the original Japanese article, “persons involved (kankei-sha)” is mentioned twice. While the structure of the English article is slightly different from the Japanese edition, it also mentions the persons involved more than once. However, different expressions are used to describe these “persons involved.” While it is expressed as “the officials said” in one place, it appears in another place as “according to people familiar with talks at the BOJ.” Is it possible that these two expressions signify virtually the same thing? Won’t the latter expression give an impression pretty different from “people who belong to the BOJ”?

Where the expression “people familiar with talks at the BOJ” is used in the English edition of the Bloomberg article
Where the expression “people familiar with talks at the BOJ” is used in the English edition of the Bloomberg article

To make sure, “ZAi FX!” asked two Japanese individuals, who have long experience using English in their daily lives and are used to reading finance-related news on a regular basis, whether the impressions the two expressions give are the same or not.

Both of them answered that these two expressions are clearly distinguished from one another.

They explain that while “BOJ officials” refers to those within the organization of the BOJ, “people familiar with talks at the BOJ” includes the so-called “BOJ watchers,” who continuously pay close attention to the movement of the BOJ and the remarks of its personnel.

There is only one expert whose comment appeared in the article in question by Mr. Hidaka from the time it was published: Ryutaro Kouno, the chief economist at BNP Paribas SA. Mr. Kouno is also one of the “BOJ watchers.”

In other words, Mr. Kouno is included in the “people familiar with talks at the BOJ.” Speaking hypothetically, even if Mr. Hidaka had written the article in question based on the story he heard from Mr. Kouno, there is nothing wrong with the article as far as the part which expressed “people familiar with talks at the BOJ” (again, this is just hypothetically speaking).

Was the title revised?

In addition, what looks most odd about the English edition of this article in question is its title. I might say the biggest problem concerning Hidaka’s article is here, in this title.

Article in question by Masahiro Hidaka, Bloomberg, published on April 22 (Fri) (English edition, re-posted)
Article in question by Masahiro Hidaka, Bloomberg, published on April 22 (Fri) (English edition, re-posted)

The title mentioned at the beginning, “BOJ Officials Are Said to Eye Possible Negative Rate on Loans,” is the title I can currently find on the Bloomberg website.

I would first like to point out in the context of the question I presented above that the term “BOJ Officials” is clearly stated in this title. It is solely in this title where this expression, which clearly refers to those within the organization of the BOJ, is used, both in the Japanese and English editions.

Now, what is strange about the title of the English article is that it seems to have been revised after the article was first published.

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