By Takaya Yamaguchi
TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan is likely to appoint international policy veteran Masato Kanda as its top currency official representing the country at Group of Seven (G7) and broader G20 meetings, four government sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Currently serving as the international bureau chief at the Ministry of Finance, Kanda will replace Kenji Okamura, who will retire next month after serving in his post for a year, the sources said on Tuesday.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to media.
The appointment, which will take effect in July following a nod from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s cabinet, comes at a time when Japan is coordinating with G7/G20 to curb the COVID-19 pandemic as well as tackle global tax and emerging market debt.
Kanda, as vice finance minister for international affairs, would oversee any currency interventions if necessary to prevent Japan’s export-led economy from slipping back into recession.
Japan has not intervened in the currency market since the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and nuclear crisis, although authorities tend to verbally intervene to stem spikes in the yen that risk hurting the export-reliant economy.
Kanda is known for his broad experience and close ties with policymakers at home and overseas, having worked closely with the Bank of Japan as deputy vice minister for policy planning and coordination.
Kanda is also close to BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who was vice finance minister for international affairs for 3-1/2 years to January 2003.
The government is set to name Koji Yano, as administrative vice finance minister – the top bureaucrat at the finance ministry – to replace Mitsuru Ota who is retiring, the sources said.
For three years from 2012, Yano worked as secretary of Suga who then was serving as government’s top spokesperson.
(Reporting by Takaya Yamaguchi; Writing by Tetsushi Kajimoto;Editing by Alison Williams)