KURODA BACKED: The lower house of Japan's parliament has endorsed Haruhiko Kuroda to become central bank governor. Another vote is required to make his appointment permanent.
NEEDED ALLY: Kuroda is a finance ministry veteran and president of the Asian Development Bank. His support is crucial to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to revive the economy through a combination of monetary easing, robust government spending and longer-term reforms.
CONDITIONS IMPROVING: The economy did better than first thought in the last quarter of 2012, eking out a slight expansion instead of shrinking, suggesting that the world's No. 3 economy was emerging from recession when Abe took over late last year.