The chairman of Asahi Breweries Ltd. and nine others were officially appointed Tuesday to the new Strategic Economic Council, a special advisory panel to Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka told a news conference that the Cabinet approved the 10 selections during its morning meeting. The council is to be launched by the end of the month.

The members consist of six business executives and four academics. The head of the council will be selected by members at their first meeting, but Asahi Breweries Chairman Hirotaro Higuchi has been cited as the most likely choice for the post.

The five other executives are Masataka Ide, chairman of West Japan Railway Co.; Hiroshi Okuda, president of Toyota Motor Corp.; Toshifumi Suzuki, president of the supermarket chain Ito-Yokado Co.; Chiyono Terada, president of moving firm Art Corp.; and Minoru Mori, president of real estate developer Mori Building Co.

The scholars are Motoshige Ito, a University of Tokyo professor; Sawako Takeuchi, a University of Tokyo assistant professor; Heizo Takenaka, a Keio University professor; and Iwao Nakatani, a Hitotsubashi University professor.

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