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Top FX diplomat to be reappointed as Japan navigates global trade hazards

Reuters  |  TOKYO 

By and Kajimoto

(Reuters) - will reappoint career bureaucrat Masatsugu Asakawa as its top currency diplomat, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told on Friday, maintaining the status quo at a time of global trade turbulence.

Asakawa became vice for international affairs at the ministry, or Japan's top financial diplomat, in 2015. His reappointment would make him the longest-serving top since Bank of Haruhiko Kuroda, who served as vice for international affairs for 3 1/2 years to Jan 2003.

Senior posts at the ministry are reviewed annually and it is rare for an to be kept in a post for this long, highlighting the consistency Asakawa can bring to Japan's relationship with the as well as other countries.

"Asakawa has been a stable hand in handling policy issues, and he has dealt well with such cases as sudden yen spikes by coordinating with the Bank of and the Financial Services Agency," said Masaki Kuwahara, at

"His reappointment should give a sense of relief to markets particularly at a time when the and are on the verge of falling into a trade war, making it highly unpredictable how currencies move from now on."

U.S. has been following through on pledges he made during his 2016 presidential campaign to get tough on China, which he accuses of unfair trade practices.

He has also criticised Japan for running large trade surpluses with the

Asakawa's role is to oversee Japan's currency policy and international economic diplomacy, including representing at meetings of the advanced countries and the Group of 20 major economies.

Japan has not intervened in the currency market under Asakawa, ministry records show, though he tends to talk tough on markets to stem yen spikes that risk hurting the export-reliant economy.

Asakawa is close to Finance Taro Aso, having served as his when Aso was in 2008-2009 during the global financial crisis, and as his when he became in 2012.

Aso made no mention of the Asakawa appointment at a regular briefing on Friday. The minister is expected to officially announce a regular reshuffle in coming weeks.

The government will also promote Shigeaki Okamoto, currently of the budget bureau, to - the top bureaucrat at the ministry, the source said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to media.

(Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Eric Meijer)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 12:13 IST