Japan may nominate BoJ deputy Shirakawa as governor

TOKYO - Japan may nominate Bank of Japan deputy Masaaki Shirakawa to be central bank chief as it looks to fill the vacancy before a meeting of world finance chiefs next week, reports said on Friday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Fri 4 Apr 2008, 12:38 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:35 AM

The government may promote Shirakawa, a former BoJ executive director who is currently serving as acting governor, because it does not seem feasible to pick a candidate from the private sector, the Nikkei business daily reported.

Tokyo said Thursday it aimed to fill a vacancy at the top of its central bank next week in time for the April 11 meeting of finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of Seven (G7) major economies.

The nomination needs to be approved by both chambers of parliament.

The opposition-controlled upper house voted down two government nominees—both former top finance ministry officials - saying they were too close to the government to ensure the central bank’s independence.

The government plans to submit its new nominee to parliament on Monday for a vote in parliament on Wednesday, reports said.

Kyodo News said the government had informally sounded out the main opposition Democratic Party about a new nominee.

If the government nominates Shirakawa as governor, it could propose Hiroshi Watanabe, a former finance ministry official, to fill in the vacancy in the post of deputy governor, the Nikkei said.

Watanabe, currently an adviser at a government-backed think tank, was vice finance minister for international affairs, a top financial diplomat role that involves coordinating international exchange rate policy.

A leader in the main opposition Democratic Party has hinted it could accept a person well-versed in international finance even if he or she is from the finance ministry.

Japan was left without a central bank chief for the first time in more than eight decades after the ruling and opposition camps failed to agree on a replacement for Toshihiko Fukui whose five-year term ran out last month.

Before bowing out, Fukui tapped Shirakawa, who was one of the two new deputies, to take the helm until a permanent replacement could be found.

Opposition parties approved Shirakawa, known for his expertise on financial policies, as a deputy governor.

Mitsuru Yaguchi, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, said Shirakawa was a capable central banker but would be the ”second-best” choice after Watanabe.

“Mr Watanabe is well termed in international finance,” he said.

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