April 22, 2014 5:22 am JST

Japan's giant pension fund gets infusion of new blood

TOKYO -- An academic who belonged to a panel arguing for a bolder approach to asset management at Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund is expected to become the next head of its investment committee.

     Waseda University professor Yasuhiro Yonezawa was one of seven committee members appointed by Welfare Minister Norihisa Tamura. He is expected to be picked by his colleagues to lead the committee, which debates the asset allocation of one of the world's biggest institutional investors.

     Yonezawa and two other new appointees were members of a government advisory panel that called for changes to how the fund invests. With them onboard, the committee is expected to favor cutting government bonds while holding more stocks and other risky assets.

     The new faces take up their posts Tuesday. Eight committee members, including the current chair, University of Tokyo professor Kazuo Ueda, reached the end of their two-year terms and are stepping down.

     Only one of the outgoing members has been reappointed: Hiromichi Ono, a corporate vice president at seasonings maker Ajinomoto. Besides Yonezawa, the newcomers are Setsuya Sato of Toyo University; Junko Shimizu of Gakushuin University; Isao Sugaya of the Rengo Research Institute for Advancement of Living Standards; Yoko Takeda, chief economist at the Mitsubishi Research Institute; and Sadayuki Horie, senior researcher at the Nomura Research Institute.