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Kuroda: next BoJ chief a monetary easing advocate

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Haruhiko Kuroda, nominated Thursday as the next Bank of Japan governor, is a finance veteran who has long pushed for the kind of monetary easing demanded by Japan's new government to stoke growth.

The 68-year-old head of the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) was a longtime bureaucrat who is known to be on close terms with key players in the world of global finance and central banking.

He spent decades in the Japanese finance ministry and was responsible for international affairs and foreign exchange policy between 1999 and 2003. He assumed the top job at the Manila-based ADB in 2005.

Kuroda has been a stern critic of the BoJ, and a vocal supporter of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's call for aggressive easing and the setting of a two-percent inflation target, which the central bank adopted last month.

The proposed BoJ governor, whose appointment must be approved by parliament, also defended Abe's policies when they sparked criticism that Tokyo was using monetary policy to weaken the yen to help Japan's exporters, risking setting off a global currency devaluation war.

"Now, we are in a phase when an excessively high yen and low Asian currencies are going through a natural correction," he told Japanese media earlier this month, adding that the US and Europe also unleashed huge easing measures to support their economies.

He lashed out at the BoJ for not doing enough to tackle Japan's long-running deflation, as falling prices dampen demand and business investment.

"There has never been a developed nation that has suffered deflation for 15 years -- it is abnormal," Kuroda was quoted as saying.

"The duty to stabilise prices rests with central banks," he said, noting that the BoJ had been unable to do so.

Kuroda, who graduated from the University of Tokyo and earned a master's degree from the University of Oxford, speaks fluent English and has the kind of management experience, including his stint at the ADB, that has won the approval of Japan's business community.

Analysts have said Abe is hoping Kuroda's connections and English fluency would help him communicate Tokyo's economics plans overseas.

Kuroda's expected two deputy governors are Kikuo Iwata, an economics professor at Tokyo's Gakushuin University, and Hiroshi Nakaso, the BoJ's executive director and a career central banker.

Iwata has long pushed for the BoJ to up its easing efforts to turn around the world's third-largest economy.

Nakaso was directly involved in BoJ talks with other central banks in 2008, as they scrambled to contain the impact of the collapse of Wall Street titan Lehman Brothers.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130228/kuroda-next-boj-chief-monetary-easing-advocate