Haruhiko Kuroda, chief of Asian Development Bank (ADB), is believed to be top choice of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the soon-to-be vacant position of Bank of Japan (BOJ) governor. According to local media, Abe has become firmer in his decision for the post and that the government is contacting Kuroda to see if he would accept the position. However, whether he will indeed be appointed as BOJ chief remains to be seen, as both houses of parliament must approve said nomination by a 2/3 vote.
It looks as though Kuroda has the capabilities to handle the job. It can be recalled that in the late 90s, he was the country’s top currency diplomat during the Asian Financial crisis. He also has close relationships with policymakers the world over, being president of the 67-member ADB. Likewise, Kuroda meets many other qualifications, which Abe’s cabinet ministers and opposition parties came up with. These include experience managing a large organization, strong command for the English language, and supportive of Abe’s policy for a more aggressive monetary stimulus.
Another candidate said to be in a tight race with Kuroda is former BOJ deputy governor Kazumasa Iwata. He also fits into the characteristics devised by key people involved in the process. He has a renowned publication on economic policy, fluent in English, and of course, shares Abe’s sentiments as regards aggressive bond buying by the central bank. The selection process will begin in earnest now that Abe has gotten back from Washington. However, a careful political maneuvering is still necessary to secure parliamentary approval.