Japan is eyeing ADB chief to head its central bank: Media reports

TOKYO (AFP) - Asian Development Bank president Haruhiko Kuroda is seen as the leading candidate to become Japan's next central bank governor, local media reported on Saturday.

The government is strongly considering nominating Kuroda, 68, as the next Bank of Japan chief to succeed Masaaki Shirakawa, Kyodo News said, quoting sources familiar with the matter.

The Asahi Shimbun also reported that one of its government and finance ministry sources said: "Mr. Kuroda is the first candidate."

Incumbent BoJ governor Mr Shirakawa, who disagreed with new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on policy matters, is to step down on March 19, several weeks before the end of his term.

The appointment of the central bank governor requires parliamentary approval. As the ruling coalition lacks a majority in the upper house, Mr Abe has said he would seek support from the opposition in picking Shirakawa's successor.

Mr Abe told a news conference on Friday in Washington that his government would start picking nominees on Monday after concluding his US trip during which he held talks with President Barack Obama.

Mr Kuroda spent decades as a Japanese finance ministry bureaucrat. He was responsible for international affairs and foreign exchange policy between 1999 and 2003 before assuming the post of ADB head in 2005.

Mr Kuroda, a former vice finance minister for international affairs, is known as an advocate of aggressive monetary easing to overcome Japan's deflation, a stance in line with Abe's economic policy, Kyodo said.

Among other candidates are another former vice finance minister Toshiro Muto, and Kazumasa Iwata, head of a policy think-tank. Both Mr Muto and Mr Iwata used to serve as deputy governor of the central bank.

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