* Top economist Kamiyama moves to head of settlement
* Move reflects BOJ's emphasis on CBDC research
* Japan playing catch-up to global drive toward digital
TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan on Friday
appointed its top economist as head of a department overseeing
research on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), as it steps
up efforts to keep pace with a global drive towards embracing
Kazushige Kamiyama will head the BOJ's payments and
settlement department, which has conducted joint research with
other central banks on CBDCs and looked into how the growing
presence of crypto-currencies could affect central banking.
The appointment comes at a time the BOJ is shifting away
from its caution over the idea of issuing its own digital
currency in the future.
It has recently set up a task force focusing on CBDC
research and is seeking private-sector expertise to better
understand the evolution of digital currencies.
As the BOJ's top economist, Kamiyama spearheaded efforts to
use more big data in analysing the economy - an approach that
helped the central bank catch real-time changes affecting the
economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Seisaku Kameda will succeed Kamiyama as the central bank's
top economist and head of its statistics department, the BOJ
said in a statement.
Japan has been cautious about moving too quickly on digital
currencies given the social disruptions it may cause in a
country that has the most cash-loving population in the world.
But China's steady progress toward issuing CBDCs has
prompted the government to more closely look into the idea of
While the BOJ has said it has no immediate plans to issue
its own digital currency, it has been conducting research with
other central banks on the issue.
(Reporting by Leika Kihara
Editing by Chang-Ran Kim & Shri Navaratnam)