Newly appointed Vice Finance Minister Koji Tanami vowed Friday to put priority on regaining the public’s trust in the powerful, scandal-tainted ministry.Tanami, 58, was serving as the head of the Cabinet Councilors’ Office on Internal Affairs but was recalled after his predecessor, Takeshi Komura, resigned to take responsibility for the arrest of two inspectors who allegedly took bribes from banks.Speaking at his first news conference as the ministry’s top bureaucrat, Tanami stressed the importance of ensuring the ministry meets the expectations of the public. “I myself was helped greatly (through the experience I gained) while working at the ministry, and in many ways I am concerned about the current position it is in,” he said.He also pointed out that the world is changing rapidly, and that it is imperative for ministry officials to be sensitive to these transitions and create policies and standards to match them. On the policy front, the new vice minister acknowledged the difficulties in trying to ensure economic growth with fiscal consolidation, as Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto is currently trying to implement. “But that does not mean the two goals are not compatible,” he said. “It is important to rack our brains to solve this problem.”Tanami left the ministry near the end of June 1996 as part of the customary “whittling down” of potential candidates for the vice minister’s position, and under traditional practice would probably not have returned if not for the sudden reshuffle caused by the bribery scandal.Asked whether he himself had ever been wined and dined by financial firms, Tanami replied that he had never done anything that ran counter to the ministry’s code of ethics.
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