Missing a deadline can become a habit once a writer has got away with it. And over time, one can become increasingly creative with excuses.

Dramatist and novelist Hisashi Inoue (1934-2010) called himself "Chihitsudo" (literally "slow writer's hall") for his habitual failure to meet deadlines. Some of his excuses were pretty lame, such as "a dear, old friend dropped in" and "I lost track of time while looking at the scene of a car accident."

But in an essay, he recalled some of the more elaborate excuses he conjured up during his years as a broadcast writer. For instance: "The landlord's cat jumped up on my manuscript and spilled ink." Another: "The landlord had a big fight with his wife. I stepped in to mediate, but it wasn't easy to calm them down."

Inoue probably knew that offering such patently ludicrous excuses would make his editors laugh and forgive him.

But few can rival Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda for ignoring deadlines. Unable to meet the 2 percent inflation target to overcome deflation, Kuroda postponed it six times. He cited factors such as "oil price drops" and "reduced cellphone prices," but how much of that is true or just an excuse is anyone's guess.

Yet the government has proposed to the Diet to allow him another five-year term despite his reputation as "the BOJ governor who failed to keep his word."

But come to think of it, how many people have been really inconvenienced by the fact that prices haven't risen by 2 percent?

When we turn our eyes from prices, bankruptcies have decreased and so has the unemployment rate, and the job market is brisk for high school and university graduates. Even though all these are not necessarily the achievements of the central bank, the latter is still responsible for what becomes of the economy. As the governor, Kuroda must continue to ensure that the economy does not slow while averting an economic bubble at the same time.

Inoue said that one way to make up for his bad reputation for missing deadlines was to "write good books, so that I will be forgiven for their excellence."

I hope this is also how Kuroda thinks as the skipper of the Japanese economy.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 19

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.