Japan will back Kim’s World Bank bid

Japan will support College President Jim Yong Kim in his bid for the World Bank presidency, Japanese finance minister Jun Azumi said on Sunday. The announcement came after meetings in Tokyo with Kim, who has embarked on a “listening tour” of World Bank stakeholders and clients, seeking their ideas and input on how the institution can “promote growth, combat poverty, and create jobs in developing nations,” according to the website of the U.S. Treasury Department, which is sponsoring the tour.

Azumi said that Japanese backing depended on a candidate’s willingness to take Japan’s position as a major contributor into account when determining World Bank policies, according to a Reuters article.

“We decided he is an extremely suitable candidate for the World Bank presidency and we will support him,” Azumi said.

Kim faces two other candidates for the position — Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo. These two candidates represent developing countries’ growing contention with the tradition of American leadership in the institution, which is based out of Washington.

Despite being the United States’ nominee, Kim may appeal to developing countries for his understanding of their leadership potential in fields like global health. Kim’s accomplishments in HIV/AIDS work with the World Health Organization were instrumental in securing Japanese support, Azumi said.

Kim’s tour includes stops in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Beijing; Tokyo; Seoul, South Korea; New Delhi, India; Belgium; Brasilia, Brazil and Mexico City. He is currently in South Korea.