A newly launched government panel on deregulation held its first meeting Monday and selected Yoshihiko Miyauchi, chairman of Orix Corp., as chairman.

The Council for Promoting Regulatory Reform, which comprises 13 academic and business executives from the private sector, is one of two organizations that succeeded the now-defunct Council for Regulatory Reform after it completed its three-year work at the end of March. Another entity consists of Cabinet members.

The deregulation panel is expected to focus on speeding up the privatization of administrative services during its three-year time frame.

“We may face tough going in allowing the private sector’s entry into public services, but we want to put (deregulation) forward with a public consensus as well as arguments of economic rationality,” Miyauchi told a news conference.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said in a statement read by Miyauchi on his behalf that regulatory reform is a major pillar of structural reforms and that he has high expectations for the council.

Koizumi skipped the meeting to deal with a hostage crisis involving three Japanese civilians in Iraq.

Miyauchi said the other entity is expected to compile a basic policy of deregulation in May with four panel members, including himself, taking part.

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