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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fukuda firm: Muto is the 'best' choice for BOJ governor


Staff writer

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Monday he has no intention of proposing another candidate as governor of the Bank of Japan, even though the opposition camp is mulling whether to reject his original nomination of Toshiro Muto.

"Considering the economy and the international financial situation, we are suggesting the best people," Fukuda told reporters, adding that he believes the opposition parties will come to accept that Muto is the ideal candidate.

Last Friday, the government nominated Muto, who is currently a BOJ deputy chief, along with former BOJ Executive Director Masaaki Shirakawa and University of Tokyo professor Takatoshi Ito as the next two BOJ deputy governors. Their nominations must be approved by both houses of the Diet, including the opposition-controlled Upper House.

But some members of the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition force, are against promoting Muto, claiming their stance is for the sake of ensuring the independence of monetary policy, which they say wouldn't be guaranteed under a former vice finance minister.

"Even looking at each (candidate for) the governor and deputies, I don't believe there is anyone better than (them) and there is no better-balanced team than (the three candidates)," Fukuda stressed.

He also said he would be willing to talk to DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa directly about the matter if necessary.

The Diet is set to hold hearings for the three nominees Tuesday in both the Lower and Upper houses, where they will explain their policies and answer questions. The opposition camp is reportedly set to officially reject Muto as early as Wednesday.

"I think it is truly incomprehensible that (the opposition parties) already have their decision made before listening to the (nominees') opinions," Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said.



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