Economic news

Japan PM Hints that Decision on next BOJ Chief Still Months off

  • Kuroda serves out term as BOJ head next April
  • PM Kishida makes no mention of specific names
  • Foresight, coordination with govt vital factors

TOKYO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hinted on Monday that a decision on a successor to Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda may still be months away, offering no timeline and no names of potential nominees when questioned in parliament.

Kishida told lawmakers that he would pick the most appropriate person to replace Kuroda, whose term ends on April 8, but volunteered no details about the process.

Analysts and media reports have floated the names of two career central bankers - Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya and former Deputy Governor Hiroshi Nakaso - whose policy approaches and track records differ both from each other and from Kuroda.

There is also speculation that Kishida may opt for a dark horse with no monetary policy background.

The selection is seen potentially affecting the timing of an eventual exit from Japan's ultra-easy monetary policy.

"We must choose the person who, as of April next year, would be most appropriate," Kishida told a lower house session of parliament. "We must think about appointments while attaching importance to foresight and coordination between the government and the BOJ."

When Kuroda was selected for his first term beginning in April 2013, his name had surfaced by late the previous year although he was not officially nominated for parliamentary approval until early 2013.

Government nominees for the central bank's board must be approved by both chambers of parliament, which generally takes a few weeks to complete.

The two deputy governor posts, currently held by Amamiya, a career central banker, and Masazumi Wakatabe, an academic, will also open up in March.

Amamiya and Nakaso, currently the two principal targets of speculation as possible nominees, have deep expertise in central bank affairs as former and incumbent deputy governors, and are considered a safe pair of hands to guide a future exit from Japan's ultra-low interest rates.

Nakaso has criticised the stimulus policies of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as relying too heavily on monetary policy, while repeatedly warning of the costs of prolonged easing.

Amamiya, who developed many of the bank's monetary policy tools, is known for masterminding unconventional monetary easing steps.

Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Tom Hogue and Edmund Klamann

Source: Reuters

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