• Kyodo

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Economic Planning Agency chief Taichi Sakaiya indicated Tuesday that he does not intend to remain in his EPA post even if asked to do so when the next Cabinet is formed.

Speaking to reporters in Paris, Sakaiya said he has not been contacted about staying on as EPA director general.

He then said a Cabinet post “is not something one would hold on to for a long period.”

Sakaiya is attending a ministerial conference of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Sakaiya, a bureaucrat-turned-writer, first assumed the post in July 1998 under the late Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, and retained the position in the current Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, formed in April.

“I had said that I would resign if the economy contracts in fiscal 1999, but it showed positive growth,” he said, noting the positive results indicate the EPA had economic policy under control.

The economy grew 0.5 percent in fiscal 1999 to mark the first growth in three years.

Commenting on a statement issued Monday by the OECD, in which it called on Japan to maintain its easy monetary policy, Sakaiya said, “It cannot be said (the statement) was directly referring to the zero-interest-rate policy, but rather it was an expression of support for an easy monetary policy.”

“Given the overall situation, such as the current labor market and prices, I believe the Bank of Japan is considering whether to maintain (its current monetary policy),” he said.