29 Jun 2009

Japan names Rintaro Tamaki as new currency tsar

5:21 am on 29 June 2009

Japanese Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano has named international policy veteran Rintaro Tamaki as the new top financial diplomat in charge of currency policy.

The Nikkei Business Daily reported that Mr Tamaki will take over from outgoing vice finance minister for international affairs Naoyuki Shinohara in early July.

The appointment will come as little surprise as Mr Tamaki has headed the Ministry of Finance's international bureau, a post usually held before assuming the position of currency tsar.

Although little is known about Mr Tamaki's views on currencies, the appointment is unlikely to alter Japan's foreign exchange policy much.

Mr Yosano repeated on Thursday Japan's support for Washington's strong-dollar policy, saying it benefits not only the United States but countries around the world.

Japanese authorities have not stepped into the currency market under Mr Shinohara and his predecessor, Hiroshi Watanabe.

The last time Tokyo stepped into the market was in 2003 and 2004, when it sold a total of 35 trillion yen ($US368 billion) to halt what it saw then as an excessive rise in the yen.

After hitting a multi-year high of around 87 yen to the dollar in December last year, the yen has fallen to around 95 and few market players expect currency intervention any time soon.