• Kyodo


The government plans to propose that the Asian Development Bank hold its 50th anniversary annual general meeting in Yokohama, Finance Ministry sources said Monday.

The event in May 2017 will take stock of the bank’s progress and its plans for further poverty reduction in Asia, and, in passing, the role Japan has played in its history as one of its two main donors. The other is the United States.

The Manila-based institution is likely to accept Japan’s request at its 2015 general meeting next May in Azerbaijan, unless other member nations submit a rival bid, the sources said.

Finance Minister Taro Aso wishes to host the ADB meeting in Japan, they said. The ministry was expected to formally announce its decision later Monday.

The ADB secretariat will send an observation team to Yokohama in December, documents seen by reporters show.

They also show that the ADB expects its 50th anniversary meeting to draw up to 3,500 ministers and officials, including central bank chiefs, from 67 member countries to discuss measures to combat poverty and spur economic development in Asia.

If Japan gets its way, it would be the fifth time the ADB has held its annual meeting here. Previously it chose Tokyo in 1966 for its inaugural session, and Osaka in 1987 for the 20th anniversary. Fukuoka was the site of the bank’s 30th anniversary AGM in 1997, and it held its 40th in Kyoto in 2007.

Nagoya has expressed interest in hosting the 2017 meeting, but the ministry prefers Yokohama because it has larger conference halls and a greater range of accommodations, the documents showed.

Since its establishment, the ADB has traditionally had a Japanese head.

The current president, Takehiko Nakao, is scheduled to serve through November 2016. He is a former vice finance minister for international affairs who assumed the position early last year.

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