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Finance

Carlyle Group adds former Abe aide to advise on Japan buyouts

Longtime METI official Takaya Imai offers expertise on industrial policy

The Carlyle Group looks to increase investments in Japan, focusing on manufacturing.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group has hired a key member of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's brain trust as a senior adviser at the company's Japanese unit, Nikkei learned Wednesday.

Takaya Imai, whose career in government began at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), is expected advise on areas including industrial policies in Japan and overseas.

Carlyle has pivoted toward big investment deals in Japan, with a focus on the manufacturing sector, such as semiconductors and heavy industry.

Imai's network in Japan and abroad and his wide knowledge of industrial policy are expected to help in selecting investment targets and managing businesses.

During Abe's second period as prime minister from 2012, Imai served as executive secretary and oversaw policy planning.

Takaya Imai, center, walks with then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, in Japan's parliament in March 2019.

Former METI officials held key policymaking roles in Abe's government but faded as a force after the prime minister was succeeded by Yoshihide Suga.

Imai has also served as deputy director-general at METI's Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau and deputy commissioner at the ministry's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

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