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Bank of Japan nominee gets lower house nod

March 13, 2008 at 7:16 AM

TOKYO, March 13 (UPI) -- Japan's central bank governor nominee got the nod Thursday from parliament's lower house, although the opposition-controlled upper house has rejected him.

The nomination of Toshiro Muto, who is the Bank of Japan's deputy governor, won easy approval in the lower house where the coalition government of Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's Liberal Democratic Party holds a majority, Kyodo news service reported. On Wednesday, the upper house rejected the nomination.

The opposition says Muto's previous post as vice finance minister would stand in the way of Bank of Japan's independence in making monetary policies.

The lower house also approved the appointment of Masaaki Shirakawa, a former Bank of Japan executive director, and University of Tokyo Professor Takatoshi Ito as Bank of Japan deputy governors. The current Gov. Toshihiko Fukui's term ends next week.

Kyodo said if Muto's nomination doesn't go through, Shirakawa may act as proxy and lead the bank's day-to-day operations. In that event, it would be first time the governorship has reportedly remained vacant in Japan's postwar history.

Separately, some in the coalition urged talks with the opposition parties to resolve the deadlock over Muto.

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