Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tsutomu Takebe on Tuesday denied a newspaper report his ministry is considering changing its name by as early as fiscal 2003.

“It is not true that a change is being considered,” he said.

However, Takebe alluded to the possibility that the ministry may be renamed in the future in line with a review of its operations.

“The name of a ministry reflects its administrative function, so it should be decided from a comprehensive viewpoint following a review of the agriculture ministry’s operations and organization,” he said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday that the ministry is planning to change its name by as early as next fiscal year to convince the public it is serious about drastically reforming its food administration.

The newspaper said that among names being considered are the Food Ministry, the Food and Industry Ministry, and other names beginning with the word “food.”

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