Takehiko Nakao is new ADB president

Having another Japanese on ADB's perch is a test of Japan's diplomacy over recent years with the rest of Asia, especially with the growing influence of China in the region

NEXT ADB HEAD. Takehiko Nakao was unanimously elected as the ninth President of the Asian Development Bank. Photo courtesy of ADB

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The board of Manila-based multilateral lender Asian Development Bank (ADB) unanimously voted Takehiko Nakao, Japan’s former top currency chief who has “broad and deep knowledge of the Asian region,” as its new president. 

Nakao, 57, the sole nominee for the ADB position, was a career bureaucrat at Japan’s Minister of Finance for International Affairs. He will assume office as ADB’s 9th president on April 28.

Nakao succeeds Haruhiko Kuroda, who resigned in March to become the Governor of the Bank of Japan, the ADB said in a statement on Friday, April 26. Nakao will finish his Kuroda’s unexpired term, which ends 23 November 2016. 

All of ADB’s past presidents, including Kuroda, have been Japanese. (Read: How to become the next ADB president)

Japan has held the presidency of the ADB since the institution was founded in 1966, and is tied with the US in having the largest voting power at the bank. Having another Japanese on ADB’s perch was considered a test of Japan’s diplomacy over recent years with the rest of Asia, especially with the growing influence of China in the region. (Read: Chinese for ADB president?)

China and the Philippines are in a territorial dispute over the South China Sea (also West Philippine Sea).

The ADB president traditionally has been chosen from the ranks of former high-ranking Japanese Ministry of Finance officials or others with close ties to the ministry. 

As Vice Finance Minister, Nakao oversaw the Japan’s biggest-ever one-day currency-market intervention on October 31, 2011, after the yen reached a postwar high of 75.35 per dollar. This move helped prevent the yen’s rise from derailing the export-reliant economy’s recovery from the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. 

In a previous statement on his nomination to the ADB post, Nakao said he intends to promote and encourage public-private partnerships in the region as well as highlight the importance of improving the investment climate.

“The ADB Board of Governors looks forward to working with Mr. Takehiko Nakao and his strong leadership of the institution,” ADB Board of Governors and Finance Minister of India P. Chidambaram said in a statement on Friday.

“His extensive experience in international finance and development and broad and deep knowledge of the Asian region will serve ADB well in pursuing its vision of an Asia-Pacific region free of poverty,” he added.

In a career spanning more than 3 decades, Nakao has held senior positions in the Ministry of Finance of Japan, with extensive experience in international finance and development.

Nakao also served as Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo in 2010 and 2011, teaching international finance.

Born in 1956, Nakao holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Tokyo and a Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley. – Rappler.com

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