Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

Sayuri Shirai, Advisor for Sustainable Policies

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Sayuri Shirai, Advisor for Sustainable Policies

Sayuri Shirai

Sayuri Shirai has been the Asian Development Bank Institute's Advisor for Sustainable Policies since October 2022.

She is currently a professor of economics under Keio University’s faculty of policy management. She is also an advisor to both the Nomura Research Center for Sustainability and the Nissin Oillio Group.

From 2020-2021, she was a senior advisor to London-based EOS at Federated Hermes, which provides environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-related stewardship services on firms and public policy. Prior to that, she was an ADBI visiting fellow from 2016-2020, a member of the Policy Board of the Bank of Japan from 2011-2016, taught at Sciences Po in Paris from 2007–2008, and served as an economist at the International Monetary Fund from 1993-1998.

She has published extensively on topics such as central bank digital currency, monetary policy, global finance, and ESG investment. She is also a contributing writer to the Japan Times and a frequent Japanese and international media commentator on Japan’s economy and global monetary policies.

She holds a PhD in economics from Columbia University.

Expanding the scale of blended finance in clean energy will require innovative efforts from the international community to reform traditional development finance approaches.

Expanding the scale of blended finance in clean energy will require innovative efforts from the international community to reform traditional development finance approaches.

Over the last decade, the Bank of Japan has become known as a bold practitioner of monetary easing.

As many countries have begun to take greater climate action, central banks and financial regulators must also make greater efforts to foster more effective sustainable financial markets.

Soaring fossil fuel prices have reminded the world that investment in clean and low-emissions energy projects is needed to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century.

ESG investment aims to encourage companies to consider environment (E), social (S), and corporate governance (G) issues by raising their long-term corporate value. It is becoming indispensable for filling the funding shortfalls needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the global temperature increase this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, and desirably within 1.5 degrees Celsius, as well as to encourage the transformation of corporate behavior toward net-zero emissions.

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has transformed the global monetary policy landscape. The sharp global economic slowdown caused by the spread of the virus and the various countermeasures embarked on by governments under states of emergency (such as quarantines, policies to restrict mobility, school closures, and restrictions and limitations on business operations) prompted many central banks to implement substantial monetary easing from March 2020 along with massive fiscal stimulus measures. As a result of these measures, a growing number of central banks have faced the effective (or zero) lower bound or approached it in their policy rates.

In recent years, cashless payment methods have become increasingly prevalent around the world due to the use of various innovative tools and convenient financial services through mobile phones. This trend is contributing to greater efficiency in our economies and financial systems. Nevertheless, a puzzling phenomenon is that the demand for cash has been rising in many countries. This means that growth in the demand for cash reflects factors other than the transaction motive used for payment. These factors might include opportunity cost, precautionary motives, and other motives such as aging and demand from abroad.

There are currently over 2,000 crypto assets like Bitcoin that can be exchanged for goods and services in many countries anonymously, instantaneously, and at any time. These emerging forms of private sector money, or crypto currencies, provide their own units of account and are based on ledger technology such as blockchain which makes the falsification of transaction data difficult. Unlike cash, transactions using crypto assets are also technically traceable and a positive or negative interest rate can be charged, potentially improving the effectiveness of monetary policy.