Tokyo, June 23 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government plans to appoint Koji Yano, director-general of the Ministry of Finance’s Budget Bureau, as vice minister of finance, informed sources told Jiji Press on Wednesday.
Yano, 58, will succeed Mitsuru Ota, 61. The appointment is set to take effect next month, the sources said.
Through the replacement of the top MOF bureaucrat, the ministry aims to step up preparations for the compilation of the state budget for fiscal 2022, which starts next April, after the government adopted Friday its new basic economic and fiscal policy guidelines.
Yano will be the first among Hitotsubashi University graduates to become vice minister of finance in the postwar period. The post has been served mainly by graduates of the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law.
Between 2012 and 2015, Yano served as secretary of then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, now prime minister.
After entering the MOF in 1985, Yano was mainly in charge of tax system planning. He assumed his current post in July 2020 after serving as director-general of the ministry’s Tax Bureau.
With the Japanese government’s fiscal health deteriorating rapidly due to massive spending on measures against the novel coronavirus, a major challenge for Yano will be to reconstruct the state coffers and revive the economy at the same time.
In 2018, when the ministry’s tampering of official records related to the huge discount sale of a state land plot to school operator Moritomo Gakuen came to light, Yano played a key role in the MOF’s work to draw up an investigation report on the matter as head of the secretariat for the minister of finance.
While the government on Tuesday disclosed the so-called “Akagi file” documents on the high-profile scandal, the ministry has repeatedly said that it has no plan to reinvestigate the case.
Yano’s ability to regain public trust in the ministry will be tested, pundits said.
The Akagi file was compiled by Toshio Akagi, a former official of the ministry’s Kinki Local Finance Bureau in the western Japan prefecture of Osaka, who committed suicide in 2018 after drawing up the documents.