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LDP not to let Fukui express views before Diet OKs nomination.

TOKYO, March 7 Kyodo

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) decided Friday to reject an opposition camp demand to hear the monetary policy views of Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor-nominee Toshihiko Fukui before parliament votes on his nomination around Tuesday, a senior LDP official said.

Hidenao Nakagawa, chairman of the LDP's Diet Affairs Committee, told reporters Friday afternoon, ''There has been no precedent of a BOJ governor-nominee being summoned to testify before the Diet as an unsworn witness since the current rules were drawn up'' five years ago, when the Bank of Japan Law was amended.

To placate the opposition camp, the LDP is considering granting its desire to hear Fukui's views after the expected parliamentary approval and before March 20, when he is to officially assume the post after Masaru Hayami steps down March 19, LDP officials said.

But the compromise gesture is not expected to wipe out the opposition's complaints, Diet officials said. The fray over the hearing demand may complicate parliamentary proceedings, they said.

On Thursday, Nakagawa, a lawmaker close to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, told Mitsuo Horiuchi, head of the LDP General Council, that top government officials ''are considering letting Fukui clarify his views at the venue of the Diet'' without specifying when.

Horiuchi is a proponent of letting Fukui explain his monetary views in the Diet.

When Nakagawa's comment was leaked to lawmakers of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the No. 1 opposition party, they responded positively, with DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Yoshihiko Noda saying, ''We have begun to see greater chances'' of hearing Fukui testify before his nomination receives the blessings of the Diet.

But later, the LDP side clarified Nakagawa's comment, saying that the LDP is willing to let Fukui express his views after the Diet approves his nomination, the officials said.

The LDP wants to call a vote on the proposed nomination at a plenary session of the House of Representatives slated for Tuesday.

But ruling coalition and opposition camp representatives, who met at the House of Representatives Steering Committee, remained at odds Friday over the issue of when Fukui should express his policy views, they said.

There is discord even within the ruling coalition, with Hiroshi Kumagai, leader of the New Conservative Party, expressing reservations about the LDP proposal to call a vote on Fukui's nomination prior to hearing his policy views at the Diet.

''I feel hesitancy about judging the qualifications of Fukui based only on his career,'' said Kumagai.

Fukui, 67, currently chairman of the Fujitsu Research Institute, was a deputy BOJ governor.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Mar 10, 2003
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