The government will soon form a council consisting of the Bank of Japan governor and Cabinet ministers to devise measures to stave off a financial crisis, the government’s top spokesman said Thursday.

“The government and the BOJ need to adopt a unified posture and coordinate their opinions” prior to an economic crisis, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told a news conference.

The council may be set up this month, Fukuda said.

It will include Fukuda, BOJ Gov.-nominee Toshihiko Fukui, Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa, Financial Services Minister Heizo Takenaka and other economic ministers.

On Wednesday, the government launched a similar board comprising BOJ executive directors and the vice ministers of government ministries in charge of economic policy.

The envisioned council will hold its first meeting immediately after Fukui succeeds Masaru Hayami as BOJ governor on March 20, government officials said.

The members of the council will discuss emergency measures to stabilize the flagging stock, financial and currency markets, the officials said.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has repeatedly said the government will closely cooperate with the BOJ to avert a banking-system crisis.

The establishment of the top-level council is also aimed at enhancing Japan’s ability to deal with any financial contingencies stemming from a military attack on Iraq, they added.

Fukui nomination OK’d

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved the nomination of Toshihiko Fukui as the next Bank of Japan governor.

The House of Councilors is expected to follow suit before Fukui succeeds Masaru Hayami on March 20.

Led by the ruling parties, the Lower House also endorsed former Vice Finance Minister Toshiro Muto and senior Cabinet Office official Kazumasa Iwata as vice BOJ governors.

Every opposition party — with the exception of the Social Democratic Party — opposed the appointment of all three nominees. The SDP endorsed just Fukui, who it said contributed greatly to the establishment of the new BOJ Law, which took effect in April 1998.

The opposition parties had demanded a Diet hearing involving the nominees, but the ruling parties, led by the Liberal Democratic Party, refused.

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