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Japan might chair OECD meeting for first time since ’78

JIJI

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that Japan hopes to chair next year’s ministerial council meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Kishida made the comment in a meeting with visiting OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria.

Since no other candidates have surfaced, Japan is likely to be picked to chair the annual meeting for the first time since 1978, Foreign Ministry officials said.

Tokyo apparently hopes to use the occasion to focus the OECD’s attention on economic development in Southeast Asia, where Japanese influence is strong. Japan and South Korea are the only Asian members in the 34-member OECD.

This year’s ministerial council meeting, slated to be held from May 29 to 30 in Paris, will be chaired by Norway. Next year’s chair will be decided at the meeting.

The OECD was established in 1961 to promote free-market economies. Japan joined in 1964.

Some pundits say the OECD’s influence has been declining at a time when such emerging economies as China, India and Brazil are rapidly boosting their international profiles. None of the three is in the OECD.