The Philippines has expressed its support for the nomination of Special Advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister and to the Minister of Finance, Masatsugu Asakawa as the next President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), citing his distinguished career and vast experience in global financial affairs as key assets that would enable the multilateral institution to craft new strategies in sync with its goal of wider economic inclusion across the region.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said Special Advisor Asakawa, who has worked extensively with various international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), would also be able to sustain the ADB’s ongoing efforts to work closely with the World Bank (WB) in delivering more efficiently development assistance to the Asia-Pacific region.
Japan has nominated Special Advisor Asakawa to succeed incumbent ADB President Takehiko Nakao, who has expressed his intention to resign from his post effective Jan. 16, 2020.
“We welcome the nomination of Special Advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister and to the Minister of Finance, Masatsugu Asakawa as the next president of the ADB, where his extensive experience in international finance, development and taxation would prove to be a valuable asset in helping the ADB continue reinventing itself and pursuing new strategies to help the region achieve inclusive growth amid a global economic slowdown,” said Secretary Dominguez, who sits as ADB governor for the Philippines.
Japan Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of State for Financial Services Taro Aso has formally informed Secretary Dominguez of the Japanese government’s intention to nominate Special Advisor Asakawa to the top ADB post and sought the Philippines support for his election.
In his letter to Secretary Dominguez, Deputy Prime Minister Aso said that Special Advisor Asakawa is the “most qualified candidate” to succeed President Nakao.
Special Advisor Asakawa was instrumental in orchestrating a globally coordinated financial package to abate the financial crisis in 2008, which then included a USD 100-billion loan from Japan to the IMF. He was also Japan’s former Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs.
Secretary Dominguez said Special Advisor Asakawa will ensure continuity of the reforms initiated by President Nakao in the ADB, such as strengthening the Bank’s programs on climate finance, expanding interventions in education and health care, and increasing infrastructure investments in the region.
He said Special Advisor Asakawa would find himself at home in ADB’s Manila headquarters, having been based here before when he was assigned to the Bank.
Secretary Dominguez recalled that when Special Advisor Asakawa served as Vice Finance Minister, the Philippines saw “tremendous improvement” in official development assistance (ODA) extended by Japan.
“Special Advisor Asakawa helped set the stage for the ‘fast and sure’ approach we are adopting with Japan now in implementing the big-ticket infrastructure projects being funded with Japanese ODA,” Secretary Dominguez said.
In his capacity as Vice Finance Minister, Special Advisor Asakawa also took a leading role in the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting held in 2016 in Sendai, Japan, where disaster prevention and management was extensively discussed.
As finance deputy for the G20 meetings held in Osaka, Special Advisor Asakawa was instrumental in crafting the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment and the G20 Shared Understanding on the Importance of UHC (Universal Health Care) Financing in Developing Countries.
He also held various prominent positions within the Japanese finance ministry, covering development policy issues, foreign exchange markets, and international tax policy.
He is described in the media as Japan’s former “top currency diplomat.”