• Kyodo

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The Finance Ministry on Tuesday announced a reshuffle of its senior officials, with Budget Bureau chief Kazuho Tanaka becoming the top bureaucrat at what is effectively the most powerful government office in Japan.

Tanaka, 59, who has also served as the Tax Bureau chief, replaced Shunsuke Kagawa, 58, as administrative vice minister. Tanaka was involved in making the decision to raise the consumption tax rate to 8 percent from 5 percent in April last year.

“The Cabinet’s top priority issue is achieving an economic recovery and fiscal soundness at the same time,” Finance Minister Taro Aso said at a news conference. “It is important to place personnel who can appropriately deal with the issue.”

Deputy vice minister Junichi Fukuda, 55, succeeded Tanaka as Budget Bureau chief, while Shinichi Sato, 58, will stay in his current post as Tax Bureau chief. The new appointments are effective Tuesday.

Masatsugu Asakawa, 57, who headed the Finance Ministry’s International Bureau, was tapped as vice finance minister for international affairs, succeeding Tatsuo Yamasaki, 57.

Daikichi Momma, 57, the head of the ministry’s Policy Research Institute, was named chief of the international bureau. Momma has also served as an executive director for the International Monetary Fund.

In other personnel changes, Hiroshi Nakahara, 56, the head of the Financial Bureau, was appointed to lead the National Tax Agency, replacing Nobumitsu Hayashi, 58.

Meanwhile, the Financial Services Agency said Nobuchika Mori, 58, director-general of the Supervisory Bureau, was appointed chief of the agency, taking over from Kiyoshi Hosomizo, 59.

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