Furusawa Will Lead Japan Currency Policy as Weak Yen Draws Fire

Japan appointed Finance Ministry official Mitsuhiro Furusawa as the country’s top currency bureaucrat, Finance Minister Taro Aso said, as the weakening currency causes problems with Japan’s trading partners.

Furusawa, 57, became vice finance minister for international affairs today, replacing incoming president of the Asian Development Bank Takehiko Nakao, Aso said in Tokyo.

Furusawa will supervise currency policy as trading partners including South Korea express concern over the yen’s fall of more than 17 percent against the dollar in the last two quarters. South Korea’s Finance Minister Hyun Oh Seok this month urged the Group of 20 nations to revisit the issue after the group refrained from criticizing Japanese policies last month.

“A big challenge for the incoming vice finance minister will be to obtain the understanding of trading partners because Japan is set to provide more monetary stimulus, which may accelerate the yen’s decline,” said Azusa Kato, an economist at BNP Paribas SA in Tokyo. “If Japan intends to favor a weak yen policy, the government should engage in currency diplomacy to avoid friction.”

The yen was little changed at 94.15 per dollar as of 10:00 a.m. in Tokyo. The currency is poised for its biggest back-to-back quarterly slide since 1995 today on Abe’s commitments to revive the economy. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average was up 0.1 percent from yesterday, bringing its surge since the start of the fourth quarter of 2012 to 40 percent.

Nakao was today appointed as an adviser to the finance ministry, Aso said. He will have to resign this position when he is elected as ADB head, according to the finance ministry.

Nobumitsu Hayashi, 55, succeeds Furusawa as head of the finance bureau which manages debt issuance, Aso said.

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