Top finance official eyed for ADB slot

Kyodo

The government will field leading financial official Takehiko Nakao as a candidate to replace current Asian Development Bank chief Haruhiko Kuroda, who has been nominated to be the new governor of the Bank of Japan, sources said Wednesday.

Finance Minister Taro Aso is expected to announce the recommendation of Nakao, 57, vice finance minister for international affairs, by the end of the week, with Japan hoping to maintain its influence and presence in Asia, the sources said.

Since the ADB was established in 1966, the presidency has traditionally been held by a Japanese national, as Tokyo is the biggest financial contributor to the Manila-based institution. Voting rights are allocated to ADB members in proportion to their contribution.

Kuroda, 68, is the eighth president of the ADB, and has served in the position since 2005. The Finance Ministry tapped Nakao because of his work to strengthen financial cooperation with other parts of Asia, the sources said.

The focus now turns to other member nations — including China — which could field its own candidate for the top slot in a bid to expand its influence in Asia. If more than one candidate vies for the slot, the ADB would see its first election for the post, possibly by May.

Nakao joined the Finance Ministry in 1978 and assumed his current position in August 2011.

Mitsuhiro Furusawa, who has experience working as an executive director at the International Monetary Fund and now heads the Finance Ministry’s bureau in charge of the state government’s debt issuance, is likely to succeed Nakao there, the sources said.

Kuroda, who also served as vice finance minister for international affairs, has submitted his resignation to the ADB, effective March 18.