Ex-aide to Suga to assume Japan's top finance bureaucrat post

©Kyodo News

The government plans to name Koji Yano, known for his close ties to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, as vice finance minister, the top bureaucratic post at the most powerful ministry in Japan, government sources said Wednesday.

Yano, who currently heads the Finance Ministry's Budget Bureau, worked as an aide to Suga from December 2012 to July 2015 when the latter was chief Cabinet secretary.

Yano, 58, will succeed Mitsuru Ota, 61, as vice finance minister. The ministry is expected to announce the appointment soon.

He joined the ministry in 1985 after graduating from Hitotsubashi University, unlike many of his predecessors who were from the University of Tokyo, the nation's most prestigious educational institution.

As director general of the finance minister's secretariat since July 2017, Yano handled the ministry's response to revelations that documents related to the Moritomo Gakuen land sale had been falsified, a scandal that sparked cronyism allegations at then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A staunch advocate of fiscal discipline, Yano also led the ministry's Tax Bureau before becoming the budget chief in July last year.