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Former top Japan currency envoy Masatsugu Asakawa to lead Asian Development Bank

Kyodo

Former Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs Masatsugu Asakawa has been selected as the new president of the Asian Development Bank, the organization said Monday.

On Jan. 17, the former top currency diplomat will succeed Takehiko Nakao, who has led the ADB since April 2013. Asakawa’s tenure will run through November 2021.

The appointment of Asakawa, the sole candidate, was formally approved by the Manila-based development bank’s 68 members.

The 61-year-old will be the 10th ADB chief. Since its establishment in 1966, the ADB’s top post has traditionally been held by a Japanese representative, as Tokyo is the biggest financial contributor to the bank, along with the United States.

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

“Going forward, I wish Mr. Asakawa the very best in his next endeavor as ADB president, drawing on his rich and extensive experience that cuts across international finance, development assistance and international taxation,” Finance Minister Taro Aso said in a statement.

After stepping down as vice finance minister for international affairs in July, Asakawa, a native of Shizuoka Prefecture, served as a special adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the finance minister.