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Finance

BOJ taps ace internationalist to head monetary affairs

Shimizu led talks with New York Fed to secure dollar supply during pandemic

The Bank of Japan's headquarters in Tokyo: The BOJ's next head of monetary affairs has taken a different career route than his predecessors. (Photo by Wataru Ito)

TOKYO -- The Bank of Japan has chosen a new chief for its powerful Monetary Affairs Department, tapping the man who led dollar procurement negotiations with the Federal Reserve during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Seiichi Shimizu, who now heads the Financial Markets Department, will take his new post July 20.

The Monetary Affairs Department drafts policy options on interest rates and other matters to assist Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda and the rest of the policy board to decide on.

Although Shimizu has spent little of his BOJ career at the department, he makes up for this with experience in international negotiations. He was at the center of the central bank's push in March for increased dollar funding from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

"He was in close contact with the New York Fed, building a relationship of trust as the negotiations went on," a person with knowledge of Shimizu's career said.

Seiichi Shimizu (Photo courtesy of BOJ)

Unlike the current monetary policy director and his predecessor, Shimizu has only done short stints in the department. His greater international experience includes an assignment at the International Monetary Fund and a post supervising financial institutions.

For more than four years, he has led the Financial Markets Department, which oversees BOJ open-market operations.

BOJ insiders have a described him as a contender for executive director, one the central bank's top non-government-appointed posts.

Beyond that, Shimizu next post as monetary affairs chief would put him in a line of potential candidates for deputy governor. One of these two posts has been filled by a career BOJ official in recent years.

Shimizu, who joined the bank in 1988, ranks the same in seniority as current department chief Takeshi Kato and a year behind Tokiko Shimizu, the BOJ's first female executive director.

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