• Kyodo News

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Finance Minister Koji Omi has told U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that Japan will help the United States pick an American successor for outgoing World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, Omi said Tuesday.

“I exchanged views with Secretary Paulson over the succession issue of the World Bank presidency and told him that it will be most appropriate that a successor should be selected from the U.S., which holds world leadership,” Omi told a news conference.

A U.S. successor will benefit the entire world, including developing nations, he said.

“I expect a person who can take leadership with passion for steering the global economy and resolving the issue of development to assume the post,” Omi said, adding that he and Paulson did not discuss specific candidates.

Omi said he spoke with Paulson by telephone within the last couple of days but did not specify the date.

As the bank’s top shareholder and financial contributor, the United States is eager to maintain the practice of appointing an American as head of the institution.

Possible successors are said to include former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick and Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt.

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