Japan to shake up GPIF panel as Abe seeks bolder investment -sources

TOKYO, April 18 Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:49am EDT

TOKYO, April 18 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government plans to shake up the world's biggest pension fund, replacing several key advisers in a sign that the premier wants public funds to invest more aggressively, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

At least three of the 10 members of the $1.26 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund's Investment Committee - including two considered cautious about Abe's call to shift from bonds to riskier investments like stocks - will soon depart from the panel, according to the sources.

Seki Obata, author of a book called, "Reflation is Dangerous"; Takeshige Komoda, who represents labour unions that want to protect their pensions; and long-serving member Masaharu Usuki will not have their terms on the committee renewed when they expire, the sources told Reuters.

Abe has been pressing GPIF to put relatively less money into low-yielding bonds and seek higher returns from riskier investments, in line with his policy of reviving the economy and breaking Japan's risk-averse, deflationary mindset.

Government officials and committee members declined to comment on the record about the closely guarded GPIF personnel decisions. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday that the matter is up to Health Minister Norihisa Tamura, who is expected to announce the reshuffle as soon as next week.

(Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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