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The government will decide next week who will succeed Masaru Hayami as governor of the Bank of Japan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Friday.

“It is not scheduled (for Friday). We’ll do something about it next week,” he said.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa said he plans to tell Koizumi on Monday whom he believes should be appointed.

The finance minister will return Sunday evening from a Group of Seven meeting scheduled to begin Friday in Paris.

Koizumi, however, was noncommittal when asked by reporters about these remarks. “Did (Shiokawa) really say (Feb.) 24?” he asked.

Hayami’s five-year term expires March 19. The appointment of his successor has provoked much speculation amid hopes the new governor will be able to end the nation’s deflationary problems through more aggressive monetary steps.

Many analysts see former Deputy BOJ Gov. Toshihiko Fukui, currently chairman of the Fujitsu Research Institute, as the front-runner for the position.

The appointment of the next head of the BOJ must be approved by the Diet. Diet members are demanding about one month to screen the Cabinet’s choice before Hayami’s five-year term ends.

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