MANILA, PHILIPPINES (30 December 2021) – Former President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Masao Fujioka passed away in Tokyo, Japan, on 27 December at the age of 97.
Serving as ADB President from 1981 to 1989, Mr. Fujioka presided over one of the most dynamic and expansionary periods in the institution’s history, promoting greater coordination of ADB operations, increased cofinancing, and equity investments to private enterprises.
Against the background of a rapidly changing and uncertain international economy, under Mr. Fujioka’s leadership, annual ADB lending almost doubled in volume, rising from $1.7 billion in 1981 to $3.2 billion in 1988, while disbursements nearly tripled from $667 million to $1.65 billion.
Among the landmarks of his tenure, in 1986, the People’s Republic of China joined ADB, and a first loan was approved for India. Under Mr. Fujioka, additional replenishments were made to the Asian Development Fund, providing concessional assistance to ADB’s poorest and most vulnerable countries, and the Japan Special Fund was created. In 1983, Mr. Fujioka also presided over a third general capital increase, which raised ADB’s capital by 105%.
“Mr. Fujioka will be sadly missed by this institution and the people who have known and worked with him,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “His accomplishments during a long tenure helped significantly strengthen ADB’s presence in the Asia and Pacific region. We remain grateful to him for his foresight and leadership.”
Mr. Fujioka’s involvement in ADB dated back to the institution’s creation. In 1960, the Ministry of Finance seconded him to the International Monetary Fund, and in 1966 to the United Nation’s Bangkok-based Economic Commission for Asia and Far East (ECAFE), which worked on the establishment of ADB. He was appointed ADB’s first director of the Administration Department, a position he served in for two and a half years.
Mr. Fujioka, a graduate of the University of Tokyo, previously had a career spanning more than three decades with Japan’s Ministry of Finance. He worked for the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund, before serving for most of the 1970s in the ministry’s International Finance Bureau. He had also served as temporary Alternate Governor for Japan at both the World Bank and ADB, as well as the Executive Director of the Export-Import Bank of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
After leaving ADB, Mr. Fujioka served as the President to Japan Credit Rating Agency, Ltd.
Mr. Fujioka’s family said his passing was due to natural causes.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.