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The House of Councilors approved the nominations of three prospective Bank of Japan executives during a plenary session Friday.

It was the last procedural move before the appointments are formalized next Thursday.

Former BOJ Vice Gov. Toshihiko Fukui has been nominated as the next BOJ chief, while former government officials Toshiro Muto and Kazumasa Iwata have been nominated as vice BOJ governors.

Each position involves a five-year term.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was scheduled to meet with central bank officials later in the day to confirm the BOJ’s cooperation with the government in the battle to curb deflation.

Meanwhile, the Lower House financial committee decided to summon the three nominees to an unsworn witness hearing Tuesday, where lawmakers are expected to quiz them over their financial policies.

Their anticipated appointments will be the first since a revised BOJ law was enacted in 1998 to bolster the central bank’s independence.

Fukui will replace BOJ Gov. Masaru Hayami.

Takenaka prompts BOJ

The Bank of Japan should consider ways to boost the money supply in an effort to combat deflation, including buying foreign bonds, Financial Services Minister Heizo Takenaka said Friday.

“Each measure has advantages and disadvantages, and I would like the BOJ to study them,” Takenaka said in response to calls by ruling coalition lawmakers for the BOJ to buy foreign bonds and exchange-traded funds.

The central bank does not currently purchase U.S. Treasury bonds or other foreign bonds in the open market operations it uses to orchestrate monetary policy.

Takenaka said the government will do its best to shore up the economy, and he wants the BOJ to do the same.

Takenaka, who doubles as economic and fiscal policy minister, said he would welcome a government plan to set up a system to hold regular meetings between Cabinet ministers in charge of economic affairs and the BOJ governor.

“If the plan were to be realized,” he said, “I think it would be very desirable.”

Under the proposal, Takenaka, BOJ governor-nominee Toshihiko Fukui, Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa and other economic-related ministers would meet.

Fukui will succeed the current chief, Masaru Hayami, after his five-year term expires Wednesday.

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