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The Finance Ministry on Thursday set up an economic advisory group for free-style discussions between senior ministry officials and economists, with its first meeting slated for today.

Five scholars and two people from private think tanks were selected. They will meet Vice Finance Minister Koji Tanami and bureau chiefs about once a month to exchange opinions on a variety of economic issues, the ministry said.

Tanami told reporters Thursday that he hopes casual discussions will help improve the ministry’s work. An ad hoc panel working to overhaul the scandal-ridden ministry recommended in July that the advisory group be established.

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