Japan's parliament approves central bank nominees

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's parliament approved Haruhiko Kuroda as the Bank of Japan's (BOJ) next governor on Friday, setting the stage for the central bank to embark on more vigorous monetary easing once the new chief takes over next week.

The opposition-dominated upper house also cleared government nominees Kikuo Iwata and Hiroshi Nakaso as Kuroda's deputies, a day after the trio sailed through in a vote in the lower house controlled by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party.

Kuroda, 68, the president of the Asian Development Bank, and Iwata, 70, an academic, both spoke at confirmation hearings in favour of buying government debt with longer durations to expand the BOJ's balance sheet in pursuit of the central bank's new 2 percent inflation target.

Nakaso, 59, a career central banker, also supported increased asset purchases to meet the goal, adopted by the BOJ in January as a sign of its commitment to ending nearly two decades of deflation and helping the economy lift its growth potential.

With approval by the both houses of parliament, the three will succeed Masaaki Shirakawa and his two deputies after they step down on March 19, and investors' attention will shift to what policy action the BOJ will take when it meets for the first time under the new leadership.

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