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Merrill Lynch Japan economist Jesper Koll resigns

TOKYO, June 5 (Reuters) - Jesper Koll, a high-profile foreign economist in Japan, has resigned from Merrill Lynch MER.N in Tokyo.

A resident of Japan since 1986, Koll has worked as a member of a private sector analysis team under former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and often appeared on local news programmes as a commentator on the world’s second-biggest economy.

Prior to joining Merrill in August 1999, where he also served as managing director, Koll worked for hedge fund Tiger Management LLC. Before that, he was chief economist at JPMorgan in Tokyo.

Koll, a German national who speaks fluent Japanese, wrote of his resignation in a brief automated e-mail response, but he did not elaborate on his reasons for quitting.

Koll, who is married to Goldman Sachs GS.N chief strategist Kathy Matsui, spent his first two years in Japan as a researcher at Kyoto University and later Tokyo University.