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Japan to name Yoshiki Takeuchi as top currency diplomat: sources


TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's government is set to tap Yoshiki Takeuchi as vice finance minister for international affairs, its top foreign exchange diplomat whose duties would include arranging any currency interventions, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Takeuchi, currently international bureau chief at the Ministry of Finance, will take over from Masatsugu Asakawa, as part of a routine mid-year personnel reshuffle, early in July.

Takeuchi's appointment comes at a delicate time when Tokyo is under pressure from Washington to include a currency provision against foreign-exchange manipulation in the bilateral trade talks aimed at fixing what the United States says is an unfair trade balance.

Japan is resisting the inclusion of the currency provision, which may tie its hands on currency and monetary policies to respond to unwelcome rises in the yen that could undermine its export-reliant economy.

Asakawa, who assumed the post of the top currency official in 2015, has represented Japan at meetings of the Group of Seven advanced countries and the Group of 20 major economies.

Asakawa, who was appointed to the post in 2015, has become the longest serving top financial diplomat, exceeding the previous record set by BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who served as vice finance minister for international affairs for 3-1/2 years to January 2003.

Japan has not intervened in the currency market since the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and nuclear crisis, ministry records show, though authorities tend to verbally intervene to stem spikes in the yen that risk hurting the export-reliant economy.

The government is set to retain Shigeaki Okamoto as administrative vice minister - the top bureaucrat at the finance ministry, the sources said on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to media.

(Reporting by Takaya Yamaguch; Writing by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)


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