It would seem that the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which might be key in the selection of Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) new chief, is not looking to appoint someone who is an advocate of extreme measures towards the reflation of the economy. Seiji Maehara told Reuters in an interview that even so, they will not outright discount Toshiro Muto in the race. When asked, however, if other members of the party have similar sentiments, he dodged a direct answer.
According to Maehara, the Democrats will appraise the candidates for the three open BOJ posts as a package; they should include a policy expert, a former government official and an ex-BOJ official. In 2008, the DPJ said that appointing a previous finance ministry official as BOJ governor might compromise the central bank’s independence. This time, though, the party maintains that it will not rule out candidates based simply on their prior positions. He added that the next BOJ governor should be firm against political pressures and possesses strong negotiating and risk management skills.
While the LDP and its partner hold a two-thirds majority in the lower house, they only have 102 seats in the 242-member upper house—six of which are currently vacant. While the two-thirds majority in the lower house can overrule the upper house to pass laws, this is not so when it comes to personnel matters. Getting the support of the DPJ members, who are at 87 upper house seats, looks to be the easiest strategy. Especially since smaller parties like Your Party have already said that they not only want a non-bureaucrat, but that they’d rather have a fluent English speaker. Muto is neither.[via Reuters]