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Japan eyes ex-top currency diplomat Masatsugu Asakawa as next head of ADB

Kyodo, Staff Report

The government has decided to recommend former vice finance minister for international affairs Masatsugu Asakawa as the next chief of the Asian Development Bank by the end of this year, according to sources.

The top ADB post has been held by Japanese since the launch of the Manila-based development bank in 1966, reflecting Japan’s role as the largest donor along with the United States. The current head is Takehiko Nakao.

Japan hopes to retain the presidency with the 61-year-old Asakawa, who would become the 10th ADB chief. It remains uncertain whether other countries such as China will put forward a candidate.

Nakao, who took the helm in April 2013, plans to step down Jan. 16, the ADB said Tuesday. Nakao, 63, was previously Japan’s vice finance minister for international affairs.

Asakawa, who became the longest-serving top currency diplomat after filling the role from July 2015 to July this year, has been involved in various international conferences, including gatherings of the Group of Seven and Group of 20.

After stepping down as vice finance minister for international affairs in July, Asakawa, a native of Shizuoka Prefecture, has served as an adviser to the Cabinet Office and the Finance Ministry.