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Japan’s Takehiko Nakao Is Sole Nominee for ADB Presidency

Japanese Currency Chief Takehiko Nakao
Takehiko Nakao, Japan's vice finance minister, was nominated to replace former president Haruhiko Kuroda, who became the Bank of Japan governor last week. Photographer: Koichi Kamoshida/Bloomberg

Japanese currency chief Takehiko Nakao is the sole nominee for the presidency of the Asian Development Bank, Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said in a mobile-phone text message today, ensuring that Japan will maintain its hold on the top post at the lender.

ADB member countries will vote on the next president in an election from today to April 24, the Manila-based development bank said in an e-mailed statement earlier this month. The nomination period closed yesterday.

Japan has held the presidency of the ADB since the institution was founded in 1966, and is tied with the U.S. in having the largest voting power at the bank. The Japanese government nominated Nakao to replace former president Haruhiko Kuroda, who became the Bank of Japan governor last week.

Vice Finance Minister Nakao, 57, oversaw the government’s biggest-ever one-day currency-market intervention on Oct. 31, 2011, after the yen reached a postwar high of 75.35 per dollar.

In a statement released this month, Nakao said he will ensure the ADB is backed by sufficient financial resources if he is confirmed as president, and called for the bank to promote public-private partnerships.

Nakao joined the finance ministry in 1978 and has an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of a 2008 book, “America’s Economic Policies,” and a paper on Japan’s development policy.

Japan plans to name Finance Ministry official Mitsuhiro Furusawa to replace Nakao as the country’s top currency bureaucrat, two government officials said earlier this month. The officials asked not to be named because the appointment hasn’t been made public,

Yen Criticism

Furusawa, 57, who heads the bureau in charge of bond issuance, will take up the post as trading partners from South Korea to Germany have criticized Japan over the yen’s almost 16 percent fall against the dollar since mid-November.

The yen was 0.4 percent lower at 94.85 per dollar as of 2:47 p.m. in Tokyo, extending a fall of about 9 percent since the start of the year.

South Korea’s new Finance Minister Hyun Oh Seok last week said the Group of 20 nations should revisit the issue of yen weakness. South Korea expressed concerns about the currency’s slide before and after last month’s meeting of the G-20 in Moscow, where that organization refrained from criticizing Japanese policies.

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