NRF-Japan reappoints FX tsar Asakawa, seeks consistency dealing with U.S.

TOKYO, July 4 (Reuters) - Japan's top currency diplomat has been appointed for another one-year term in a regular finance

ministry reshuffle, underscoring a desire to maintain policy

consistency as Tokyo faces potentially tough economic talks with the United States.

Masatsugu Asakawa, a 59-year-old policy veteran with policymaker contacts inside and outside of Japan, played a key role in setting up Japan's bilateral economic dialogue with the United States, which kicked off in April.

The Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday that Asakawa will serve another year as vice finance minister for international affairs, a position he has held since July 2015.

The role oversees Japan's currency policy and international diplomacy and includes representing Tokyo in Group of Seven (G7) and Group of 20 (G20) meetings.

Asakawa's reappointment will help Tokyo negotiate with consistency in the second round of the bilateral economic dialogue with the United States, which is expected to be held later this year, analysts said.

U.S. President Donald Trump campaigned for office on an "America First" platform, saying he would boost manufacturing jobs and shrink the country's trade deficit with the likes of Japan.

Not many officials have held the post for more than two years. Those that have done so include Haruhiko Kuroda, the governor of the Bank of Japan since 2013.

Asakawa is close to Finance Minister Taro Aso, having served as his executive secretary when Aso was prime minister in 2008-2009, and as his executive assistant when he became finance minister in 2012.

Japan has not intervened in the currency market under Asakawa's stewardship, though he has frequently jawboned markets to stem yen spikes that risk hurting the export-reliant economy.

Some analysts see Asakawa as a dark-horse candidate to replace Kuroda at the BOJ when the incumbent's five-year term ends in April next year. (Reporting by Leika Kihara and Takaya Yamaguchi; Editing by Neil Fullick)