Bank of Japan to keep Kuroda at helm until 2023

Haruhiko Kuroda would be the longest-serving BoJ governor if he serves a full second term

The Bank of Japan is to keep Haruhiko Kuroda at its helm until 2023 under government plans to retain him as a pillar of its pro-spending policy, reports said Saturday.

The government will propose to parliament reappointing 73-year-old Kuroda for a second five-year term as early as this month, the Nikkei business daily quoted anonymous government sources as saying.

His current term ends on April 8.

Other media, also quoting anonymous government sources, said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration was in the final stages of arranging Kuroda's reappointment.

He would be the first BoJ governor to serve two terms in half a century as Abe's ruling coalition has a comfortable majority in both houses of parliament.

Soon after he became prime minister, Abe handpicked Kuroda, a former finance ministry bureaucrat who later headed the Manila-based Asian Development Bank, as BoJ chief.

Kuroda has since taken drastic measures to pump money into markets in what was called a monetary "bazooka".

It has played a key role in Abe's growth blitz -- a mixture of huge monetary easing, government spending and reforms to the economy.

"Mr Kuroda is a symbol of Abenomics and replacing him would pose risks," the Nikkei quoted a top government official as saying.

Their efforts have weakened the yen and boosted share prices and corporate profits.

The Japanese economy has been expanding on robust exports and domestic demand spurred by infrastructure upgrades ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games.

With wage growth and consumption persistently lukewarm, however, the world's third largest economy is still battling deflation.

Its core inflation rate rose only 0.5 percent last year, far from the two-percent target Kuroda initially said he planned to achieve in two years.

The trend stands in sharp contrast to other major economies whose central bankers are looking to wind up their easing policies.