Kuroda touted as new Bank of Japan boss as it hunts growth

Ben Southwood
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­­ASIAN Development Bank (ADB) boss Haruhiko Kuroda is the frontrunner to become next Bank of Japan (BoJ) governor, according to three Japanese papers.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to nominate the 68-year-old to replace the recently departed Masaaki Shirakawa, the Kyodo news service and two Japanese papers reported over the weekend. The government promised to announce its nominee in the coming week.

Kuroda will appeal to Abe, who wants a radical loosening of Japanese monetary policy, as he has come out in favour of both higher inflation and a weaker yen – already at its lowest level for three years. He has headed the ADB since 2005 and before that worked as vice finance minister, heading up yen policy between 1999 and 2003 – during the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.

One sticking point could be the upper house in the Japanese diet, which is in the hands of opposition the Democratic Party of Japan – the new governor requires both chambers’ approval.

Kuroda, if he won the post, would have beaten out bureaucrat Toshiro Muto and dovish former deputy governor Kazumasa Iwata.