Japan picks Nomura Asset executive to join BOJ board

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective mask walks past the headquarters of Bank of Japan amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government on Tuesday picked Junko Nakagawa, the first female chief executive of Nomura Asset Management, to join the central bank’s nine-member board.

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The 55-year-old banker would replace Takako Masai, who has consistently voted with the majority of the board while calling for more debate on the rising cost of prolonged monetary easing.

While little is known about her views on monetary policy, Nakagawa has been involved in efforts to promote exchange-traded funds (ETF) in Japan.

“She comes from the buy-side, which suggests she may have been chosen for her knowledge on timely themes like ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investment,” said Toru Suehiro, senior economist at Daiwa Securities.

The nomination needs approval of both houses of parliament to take effect. Nakagawa would assume the post after Masai serves out her five-year term on June 29.

Nakagawa would join a board split between members who see more room to ramp up stimulus, and others wary of the rising cost of prolonged easing. Of the nine posts at the BOJ board, one has traditionally been held by a woman.

Nakagawa rose through the ranks in Japan’s male-dominanted financial industry to become the first female head of Nomura Asset Management in 2019, with experience in investment banking and accounting.

She has also been a member of the Financial Services Agency’s panel on corporate accounting since 2015.

In an interview with the Nikkei newspaper last year, Nakagawa described herself as a listener willing to work with colleagues with views different from her own.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Yoshifumi Takemoto; additional reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Lincoln Feast.)