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Finance Minister Hikaru Matsunaga said Tuesday that his ministry will step up efforts to launch a new authority to watch over financial institutions earlier than currently scheduled.

“The Financial Inspection Agency should start working as soon as possible to make it possible for financial regulators to make a fresh start (after the latest bribery scandal involving ministry bank inspectors),” Matsunaga told a session of the Upper House Budget Committee. The agency, currently scheduled to start operations in June, is designed to remove financial market-related functions from the Finance Ministry.

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