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Japan's Amari: ADB Kuroda is qualified to lead BOJ

Japan's Economic Revival Minister Akira Amari attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 26, 2013. REUTER
Japan's Economic Revival Minister Akira Amari attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 26, 2013. REUTER

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda has the qualifications to run Japan's central bank, but the prime minister has yet to decide who he will nominate for the post, Economics Minister Akira Amari said on Tuesday.

Kuroda, who was a career bureaucrat at the finance ministry and an academic before joining the ADB, is considered a leading candidate to take over at the Bank of Japan next month.

Kuroda declined to comment on Monday on whether he is being courted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the position, telling reporters he is happy in his current position.

"I think Kuroda is one person who has the qualifications for the job," Amari told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

Abe is set to nominate a new BOJ governor to replace Masaaki Shirakawa, who steps down March 19, and has made it clear he wants someone who will take bold policy steps to revive the economy and conquer years of stubborn deflation.

Kuroda, who was Japan's top currency diplomat in the wake of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s and has criticized Shirakawa's policies at the BOJ, is thought to be favored by some people in Abe's camp.

But Abe's push for a governor who will pursue radical policy is meeting resistance from his cabinet and bureaucrats, who are wary of triggering market turmoil.

Abe won office in December, and last month the BOJ adopted a 2 percent inflation target as a sign of its commitment to fight deflation and announced a shift to "open-ended" asset buying.

The BOJ's two deputy governors also finish their terms on March 19, giving Abe an opportunity to revamp the central bank leadership to one that favors aggressive monetary policy action.

(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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