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The House of Councilors on Friday approved the government’s decision to appoint two new members of the Bank of Japan Policy Board: Toshikatsu Fukuma, vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, and Hidehiko Haru, executive vice president of Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The Upper House’s approval in a plenary session followed Thursday’s endorsement by the House of Representatives.

With the Diet clearance, the Cabinet is set to formally appoint them.

Fukuma and Haru, both 64, will replace Toshio Miki and Nobuyuki Nakahara, whose terms expired at the end of March.

Fukuma joined Mitsui & Co. in 1960 after graduating from Hiroshima University. He is now an adviser to the major trading house.

Haru was hired by Tepco in 1960 after graduating from the University of Tokyo and has been executive vice president since December 2000.

The government nominated Fukuma and Haru in early March to succeed Miki and Nakahara on the central bank’s nine-member policymaking body in part because they also have business backgrounds.

BOJ lets guard down

The Bank of Japan on Friday lowered the balance of current-account deposits held at the BOJ by commercial banks below the 20 trillion yen line for the first time since March 26, money traders said.

The balance came to 19.8 trillion yen, down 700 billion yen from the previous day’s corresponding tally, they said.

On March 29, the Tokyo financial market’s last trading for fiscal 2001, the BOJ bolstered the balance to a record 27.61 trillion yen to prevent the end of the full guarantee on certain bank deposits from eroding financial-system stability and to counter surges in demand for funds at the end of the fiscal year.

On Monday, the government imposed a 10 million yen guarantee cap per person per bank on time deposits in the event the bank fails.

The BOJ has been providing financial markets with ample funds since mid-March. Before then, it maintained the balance at around 15 trillion yen.

The key unsecured overnight rate on call money is hovering at around 0.001 percent.

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