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The Financial Services Agency launched a four-member watchdog office Friday to ensure that its officials comply with laws and regulations and perform their duties fairly and transparently.

The office is headed by Shuya Nomura, an FSA adviser and law professor at Chuo University in Tokyo, and includes three other lawyers.

The move came after Financial Services Minister Heizo Takenaka spoke June 6 on the need to create the body in the wake of allegations that the FSA urged Resona Bank to ask its auditor for leniency in calculating the bank’s dwindling capital base before deciding to apply for a massive injection of public funds.

Takenaka said the FSA needs a body to ensure that financial institutions operate without political or administrative meddling.

The FSA said the office will receive public information about compliance issues involving its officials via mail, fax and e-mail.

It said the public can also mail information through its “help line” service operated by lawyer Hideaki Kubori, one of the four members.

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