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Masatsugu Asakawa

Masatsugu Asakawa is the President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Chairperson of ADB’s Board of Directors. He was elected President by ADB’s Board of Governors and assumed office on 17 January 2020.

17 November 2021 20th CAREC Ministerial Conference marks new health, digital approaches to regional integration

President Masatsugu Asakawa joined CAREC ministers at the 20th CAREC Ministerial Conference held virtually on 17 November 2021. In his keynote address, President Asakawa reiterated ADB’s support to CAREC member countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and emphasized the need to strengthen regional cooperation through digitalization in order to recover and build resilience against future crises. The CAREC ministers reaffirmed their commitment to regional cooperation. They also endorsed the CAREC Health Strategy 2030 and the CAREC Digital Strategy 2030, which are crucial to safeguard regional health security and strengthen digital connectivity. Read the news release

17 November 2021 President Asakawa discusses international tax cooperation at Global Forum Plenary

President Masatsugu Asakawa, on 17 November 2021, participated in a panel discussion at the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information Plenary. He discussed the priorities and experiences of Asia and Pacific jurisdictions in the fight against illicit financial flows and how tax transparency is instrumental for domestic resource mobilization. The President also presented the Asia Pacific Tax Hub’s role in promoting international tax cooperation and ADB’s support to the newly announced Global Forum-led Asia Initiative. 

16 November 2021 President Asakawa speaks on domestic resource mobilization at tax group annual meeting

President Masatsugu Asakawa on 16 November 2021 delivered a keynote speech at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Study Group on Asian Tax Administration and Research (SGATAR). He highlighted the importance of domestic resource mobilization (DRM) and international tax cooperation (ITC) for developing member countries to get back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, address climate change, and meet other structural challenges. He also presented the Asia Pacific Tax Hub’s role in promoting DRM and ITC, and ADB’s support for implementation of the SGATAR capacity building plan. 

16 November 2021 ADB launches joint report on global value chains

ADB on 16 November 2021 jointly launched the Global Value Chain Development Report 2021: Beyond Production at a virtual event where President Masatsugu Asakawa and WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala gave opening remarks. The report shows how the rise of service value chains offers a new path to development; and how protectionism and geopolitical tensions, environmental risks, and pandemics are undermining the stability of global value chains, forcing their reorganization geographically. Participating authors from the China Development Research Foundation; the Institute of Developing Economies - Japan External Trade Organization; the Research Institute for Global Value Chains at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, PRC; and the WTO joined the panel discussion. Read the news release.

15 November 2021 President Asakawa discusses climate, COVID-19 issues with Italy’s Ambassador to the Philippines

President Masatsugu Asakawa and the Ambassador of Italy to the Philippines, Marco Clemente, met for the first time in a courtesy call on 15 November 2021. They discussed ADB’s climate agenda, the COVID-19 response with a focus on ADB’s program in the Philippines, and the recently signed MOU with state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) under which Italy will provide EUR132 million in cofinancing for the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility projects. 

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Masatsugu Asakawa is the President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Chairperson of ADB’s Board of Directors. He was elected President by ADB’s Board of Governors and assumed office on 17 January 2020. In August 2021, he was reelected for a 5-year term starting on 24 November 2021.

Under Mr. Asakawa’s leadership, ADB made significant contributions to the region’s COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery planning with a $20 billion comprehensive response package and $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility. He also played a key role in rolling out a series of new and innovative financing initiatives—including an Energy Transition Mechanism — to spur the region’s low-carbon development and elevated ADB’s 2030 cumulative climate financing ambition to $100 billion as ADB continues to focus on the battle against climate change.

Prior to joining ADB, he served as Special Advisor to Japan’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and has a close-to-four decades’ career at the Ministry of Finance with diverse professional experience that cuts across both domestic and international fronts.

In the immediate aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, Mr. Asakawa, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to Prime Minister Taro Aso, took part in the first G20 Leaders’ Summit Meeting in November 2008. He was instrumental in orchestrating a globally coordinated financial package to abate the financial crisis, including a $100 billion loan from Japan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Then in 2016, in his capacity as Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, he took on a leading role for the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ meeting in Sendai under the Japanese presidency, where a sustainable and inclusive development agenda was extensively discussed.

Most recently, he served as Finance Deputy for the G20 meetings under the Japanese presidency, playing a pivotal role for the success of the G20 Osaka Summit as well as the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ meeting in Fukuoka. Some of his outstanding achievements in Osaka include the endorsement by the G20 Leaders of the “G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment” and the “G20 Shared Understanding on the Importance of UHC Financing in Developing Countries”. Before these, he had occupied various prominent positions within the Finance Ministry, including director positions in charge of development policy issues, foreign exchange markets, and international tax policy.

Mr. Asakawa’s professional experience extends beyond the realms of the Japanese government. Most notably, he served as Chief Advisor to ADB President Kimimasa Tarumizu between 1989 and 1992, during which time he spearheaded the creation of a new office focused on strategic planning. Also, he had frequent engagement with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in such positions as Chair for Committee on Fiscal Affairs (2011–2016). Furthermore, he was a senior staff at the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF (1996–2000). In the meantime, he gave lectures as Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Economic Science, Saitama University (2006–2009), and at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo (2012–2015).

Mr. Asakawa obtained his BA from University of Tokyo (Economics Faculty) in 1981, and MPA from Princeton University, USA, in 1985.