Japan appoints Yano, ex-assistant to Suga, senior finance official

The government on Wednesday appointed Koji Yano, director general of the budget office of the finance ministry and former assistant to prime minister Yoshihide Suga, as the country’s new top finance official.

Yano, 58, will succeed Mitsuru Ota, 61, as deputy finance minister, the highest bureaucratic post in Japan’s most powerful ministry, effective Thursday.

The government also appointed Masato Kanda, who heads the ministry’s International Bureau, as Japan’s top foreign exchange diplomat. His appointment will take effect on July 16 after a two-day face-to-face meeting of the CFOs of the Group of 20 major economies to be held in Italy from Friday.

Yano was formerly secretary to Suga, who was then chief cabinet secretary, from December 2012 to July 2015.

Yano joined the ministry in 1985 after graduating from Hitotsubashi University, unlike most of his predecessors who had been from the University of Tokyo, the country’s most prestigious educational institution.

As Director General of the Secretariat of the Minister of Finance since July 2017, he dealt with the ministry’s response to revelations of forgery of documents related to the sale of Moritomo Gakuen’s land, a scandal that sparked allegations of cronyism among the Prime Minister. then minister, Shinzo Abe.

Meanwhile, Kanda, 56, has been appointed Deputy Finance Minister for International Affairs, succeeding Kenji Okamura, 59.

Kanda joined the Ministry of Finance in 1987 and has been Managing Director of the International Bureau since July 2020. He is also Chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development since November 2016.

Finance Minister Taro Aso told a press conference that Ota and Okamura would be leaving the ministry.

As for the Financial Services Agency, the ministry said that Junichi Nakajima, 58, head of its strategy development and management office, will lead the financial watchdog, replacing Ryozo Himino, 61.

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