Nakao named new ADB president

Kyodo

Takehiko Nakao, former vice finance minister for international affairs, was named new president of the Asian Development Bank, the organization said Friday.

The nation’s former top financial diplomat was the sole candidate and will formally take over ADB on Sunday, the Manila-based institution said.

Nakao, 57, succeeds Haruhiko Kuroda, who became Bank of Japan Gov. on March 20. Nakao will serve out the rest of Kuroda’s term through November 2016.

Since its establishment in 1966, the 67-member ADB has traditionally been headed by a Japanese because Tokyo is its biggest financial contributor, along with the United States. Voting rights are allocated to ADB members in proportion to their contributions.

Kuroda, 68, was the ADB’s eighth president and had served in the post since 2005. Japan hoped to retain the post to maintain its influence in Asia amid expectations other members, such as China, would try for the post, Finance Ministry officials said.

Nakao, a graduate of the University of Tokyo, joined the Finance Ministry in 1978 and earned his Master of Business Administration degree at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1982.

He was dispatched to the International Monetary Fund as a senior-level staff economist for three years from 1994 and was assigned as minister at the Japanese Embassy in Washington for two years through 2007.

Nakao was responsible for international affairs and foreign-exchange policy from August 2011 to late March. He attended many conferences, including meetings of Group of 20 finance chiefs, and has a wide network of contacts around the globe.

New Japan-ASEAN plan

Kyodo

Finance chiefs from Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will launch a new framework for financial cooperation in May when they hold their first meeting in India, government sources said.

Amid Tokyo’s deteriorating relations with China and South Korea, financial ministers and central bank chiefs from Japan and 10-member ASEAN are expected to meet May 3 in New Delhi on the sidelines of the annual Asian Development Bank meeting, the sources said Thursday.

The new framework will complement the existing ASEAN-plus-three framework, which comprises Japan, China and South Korea.

Finance Minister Taro Aso and Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda, who will visit India for the ADB meeting from May 2 to 5, will also join the meeting between Japan and ASEAN.

The finance ministers of Japan and ASEAN held talks in 1999, but the upcoming meeting will be the first involving the participation of their central bank chiefs.

Japan is looking to deepen economic ties with Southeast Asia’s growing economies in light of China’s rising influence in the fast-growing region.

Japan is expected to revive bilateral currency swap agreements with Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and to strengthen bilateral arrangements with Indonesia and the Philippines, the sources said.