Japan's government today threw its backing behind Jim Yong Kim, the US nominee to be the next World Bank chief, as the Korean-American physician visited Tokyo.
"He substantially understands the positions of developing countries," Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi told reporters after meeting Kim, who was in Tokyo as part of a global "listening tour".
"He would be a suitable person to take the leadership of the World Bank," Azumi said.
US President Barack Obama last month tapped Dartmouth College president Kim, known for his work in global health campaigns against AIDS in Africa, to lead the World Bank.
Since the World Bank's founding in 1944, Washington has always chosen its president. But this year, it faces two challengers in Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria and Jose Antonio Ocampo of Colombia.
Kim is therefore seeking to drum up support from major emerging economies on his tour, which is also taking in Brazil, China, India and Mexico among other stops. He visited China yesterday.