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Japanese government nominates former Toyota sales executive to central bank's policy board

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TOKYO — The Japanese government has nominated a former executive at Toyota Motor Corp., one of the biggest corporate beneficiaries of drastic monetary easing, to be a board member of the central bank.

After lawmakers given their expected approval, Yukitoshi Funo, 68, a former head of Toyota's U.S. operations, would replace ex-power industry executive Yoshihisa Morimoto when his term expires in June.

Funo reportedly would be the first businessman from a consumer goods company to serve on the Bank of Japan's board.

PHOTO: FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2003 file photo, Yukitoshi Funo, new president and chief executive officer of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., poses for a portrait with the Lexus High Performance Crossover (HPX) concept car on display at Toyota's U.S. headquarters in Torrance, Calif. The Japanese government has nominated a former executive at Toyota Motor Corp., one of the biggest corporate beneficiaries of the cheap Japanese yen resulting from drastic monetary easing, to be a board member of the central bank. After lawmakers given their expected approval, Funo, 68, a former head of Toyota's U.S. operations, would replace ex-power industry executive Yoshihisa Morimoto when his term expires in June. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2003 file photo, Yukitoshi Funo, new president and chief executive officer of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., poses for a portrait with the Lexus High Performance Crossover (HPX) concept car on display at Toyota's U.S. headquarters in Torrance, Calif. The Japanese government has nominated a former executive at Toyota Motor Corp., one of the biggest corporate beneficiaries of the cheap Japanese yen resulting from drastic monetary easing, to be a board member of the central bank. After lawmakers given their expected approval, Funo, 68, a former head of Toyota's U.S. operations, would replace ex-power industry executive Yoshihisa Morimoto when his term expires in June. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is relying on ultra-easy monetary policy to help end a long spell of deflation and economic stagnation.

Funo would likely back that strategy. Toyota has reaped record profits since Abe took office as the monetary easing has weakened the yen. He is currently an adviser to Toyota.

Japan remains far short of BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda and Abe's goal of attaining a 2 percent inflation rate, set two years ago.

Kuroda has said he intends to continue with massive central bank purchases of government bonds and other assets for as long as it takes to reach that target, and most board members have backed that position.

Toyota's profits have swelled as it has converted earnings from overseas into yen at increasingly favorable rates. Since the fall of 2012, the yen has weakened from about 80 to the dollar to about 119 to the dollar.

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