Tatsuo Yamasaki named as Japan's top financial diplomat

TOKYO (REUTERS) - A Japanese official who's long worked on global financial issues will become the country's vice finance minister for international affairs, the government said on Friday.

The Ministry of Finance said Tatsuo Yamasaki, 56, will take over from Mitsuhiro Furusawa, who will retire, on Friday as part of a routine personnel reshuffle, indicating no change in policy.

Like many of his predecessors as Japan's top financial diplomat, Yamasaki has been director-general of the MOF's International Bureau.

Yamasaki joined the ministry in 1980 and has spent most of his career at the international bureau, supervising areas such as development policy and foreign exchange markets. He served as director of the foreign exchange division in 2002-2004, during which Japan spent about 35 trillion yen (S$427 billion) intervening in the currency market to stem the yen's strength.

The new vice finance minister is expected to pursue the line of the G7 and G20 to adhere to market-set exchange rates and a policy that is not targeting currencies. He will take charge of issues ranging from currency intervention to policy coordination with other countries including the G20.

Masatsugu Asakawa, deputy vice minister for policy planning and co-ordination at the MOF, who has liaised with the Bank of Japan, will take over from Yamasaki as international bureau chief.

Japan last intervened in the currency market in November 2011 to prevent a strong yen from derailing an export-led recovery. The yen weakened by about 20 percent versus the dollar last year due to Japan's reflationary policies.