Japan lower house approves ex-Toyota executive Funo for BOJ board

TOKYO (Reuters) – The lower house of parliament on Thursday approved former Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> executive Yukitoshi Funo to join the Bank of Japan’s divided policy board, a move seen as supportive of Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s push for radical stimulus.

Funo, a 68-year-old adviser to the auto giant, would replace Yoshihisa Morimoto, a former utility executive who voted against last October’s surprise monetary easing, when his five-year term ends at the end of June.

The government nominee is set to receive the assent of the upper house on Friday, as the ruling coalition holds a solid majority in both chambers.

While little is known on Funo’s stance on monetary policy, he may bring a dose of real-world pragmatism to the BOJ given his more than four decades of experience at the auto giant including heading its U.S. sales operation.

Still, having Funo on the board would ease pressure on Kuroda, who faced a razor-thin 5-4 vote last October, when he pushed through a decision to expand monetary stimulus after having failed to convince skeptics, including Morimoto.

Funo’s first policy-setting meeting will be on July 14-15, when the board will conduct a quarterly review of its long-term economic and price forecasts.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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