The Japanese government has decided to recommend Masatsugu Asakawa, former vice finance minister for international affairs, as the next chief of the Asian Development Bank to replace Takehiko Nakao by the end of this year, sources close to the matter said Monday.

The top post of the ADB has been held by Japanese since the launch of the Manila-based development bank in 1966, reflecting Japan's role as the largest donor along with the United States.

Japan hopes to retain the presidency of the institution with Asakawa, 61, who would become the 10th ADB chief. It remains uncertain whether other countries such as China will put forward a candidate for the post.

The incumbent Nakao, who took the helm in April 2013, plans to step down before the end of his current second term, the sources said. Nakao, 63, also previously served as Japan's vice finance minister for international affairs.

Asakawa, who became the longest-serving top currency diplomat after filling the role from July 2015 to July this year, has been involved in various international conferences including gatherings of the Group of Seven countries and the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies.

After stepping down as the vice finance minister for international affairs in July, Asakawa, a native of Shizuoka Prefecture, has served as an adviser to the Cabinet Office and the Finance Ministry.