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March 12, 2008

Bank of Japan’s next governor unknown

by Richard Kilner

Story link: Bank of Japan’s next governor unknown

Japan’s leader, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, has had his first choice of central bank governor rejected by the opposition.

Toshiro Muto’s rejection is the latest blow Fakuda has suffered as his opinion poll ratings continue downwards.

For the Bank of Japan, it means that with a single week of the incumbent’s tenure remaining there is no clear successor.

At a time of financial uncertainty the danger for the government is that a message of weak leadership will contribute to a sense of a political downturn, and a temporary governor would not reinvigorate confidence in Japan’s economy.

Despite the dangers, Muto’s has not been withdrawn nor another name for the post proposed, with the government urging the opposition to drop their resistance.

Muto, currently deputy governor and formerly with the Ministry of Finance, is seen by some as too political to lead a central bank divorced from government only several years ago.

There are mounting fears that Japan will suffer a slowdown and perhaps even a recession.

Should the governor’s seat remain vacant, it will be probably be assumed on a temporary by Masaaki Shirakawa, formerly of the central bank.

 

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