TOKYO (AFP) – Japan’s government plans to nominate economics professor Kazuo Ueda as Bank of Japan (BoJ) governor, reports said yesterday, an unexpected pick that sent the yen rallying against the dollar.
Current chief Haruhiko Kuroda is expected to step down when his second term ends on April 8.
Kuroda has championed a series of extraordinary monetary easing measures in his decade at the helm, from a negative interest rate to spending vast sums on government bonds, in an attempt to revive Japan’s sluggish economy.
But the BoJ’s adherence to its longstanding ultra-loose policy has run counter to other central banks’ rate hikes aimed at tackling inflation, sending the yen tumbling against the dollar, especially in the first half of last year.
Reports in Japanese media including the Nikkei business daily and public broadcaster NHK said the government plans to nominate Ueda, a former BoJ policy board member, as governor.
The decision will be presented to parliament on Tuesday, the reports said, without citing sources. The ruling coalition’s majority means it is almost guaranteed to pass.
The Nikkei had previously said deputy governor Masayoshi Amamiya was approached about taking the top job – news that sent the yen lower as traders anticipated a continuation of the bank’s stimulus policies.
But yesterday’s reports said Amamiya turned the offer down, and in the afternoon the yen rallied, with the dollar buying JPY129.82, against JPY131.54 before the news emerged.
Ueda has a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a member of the BoJ’s policy board between 1998 and 2005.