• Kyodo

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Tuesday that its president, Masatsugu Asakawa, was re-elected for a second term.

“My vision for the upcoming term is for the ADB to serve as the premier development institution for Asia and the Pacific as it supports its developing member countries in recovering from the coronavirus disease pandemic,” Asakawa, 63, was quoted as saying in an ADB release.

Masatsugu Asakawa has been re-elected for a second term as president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).  | KYODO
Masatsugu Asakawa has been re-elected for a second term as president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). | KYODO

Asakawa, who served as Japan’s vice finance minister for international affairs until July 2019, will begin his new term — which runs for five years — on Nov. 24, the Manila-based institution said.

Asakawa became the bank’s 10th president in January of last year in order to serve out the remaining term of his predecessor, Takehiko Nakao, who stepped down that month after leading the ADB since April 2013.

In April, he announced his intention to run for re-election, and Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso immediately expressed his support.

“President Asakawa has shown excellent leadership since his inauguration in January 2020 and offered swift and strong support to counter the spread of novel coronavirus infections,” Aso said in a statement Tuesday. “His re-election is the result of the high evaluation of these previous accomplishments,” Aso added.

Asakawa was the sole candidate and elected unanimously by the board of directors, the ADB said.

Since its founding in 1966 with the aim of eradicating extreme poverty and supporting development in the Asia-Pacific region, the ADB has been headed by a Japanese national, with Japan being its biggest financial contributor, along with the United States, among its 68 members, which also includes China and South Korea.

Under Asakawa’s first term, the ADB provided a comprehensive support package of about $20 billion (¥2.2 trillion) for its developing members affected by the pandemic. It also provided $9 billion for a mechanism to help these members procure and deliver COVID-19 vaccines, according to the ADB.

Known as a close aide of Aso, Asakawa became the longest-serving Japanese top currency diplomat, filling the role for four years from July 2015. He then became special adviser to the Cabinet and the Finance Ministry.

Asakawa, a graduate of the University of Tokyo who hails from Shizuoka Prefecture in central Japan, joined the Finance Ministry in 1981.

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