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Koizumi: BOJ pick stable, trusted

By Alex Frew McMillan and wire reports

Fukui is seen as a conservative choice who is likely to maintain the status quo and be business-friendly

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SEOUL, South Korea -- Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said his choice to head the Bank of Japan is stable and trustworthy, according to a senior official.

"Stability and trustworthiness are needed, and in that respect the nominee is a suitable person," the official quoted Koizumi as saying, according to Reuters news agency.

The Japanese leader was speaking at a briefing for Japanese media in Seoul. He is attending the inauguration on Tuesday of the new South Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun. (Korea's new leader)

Koizumi stopped short of naming Toshihiko Fukui as the person he was putting forward for the post.

Choice confirmed by others

But the choice of Fukui, a career central banker, as the new BOJ governor was confirmed Monday by Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa, as well as Hidenao Nakagawa, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's chief for parliamentary affairs. (Japan taps new BOJ chief)

The nomination must be approved by parliament before becoming official.

Before he left Tokyo, Koizumi said he wanted to appoint someone who would tackle deflation, strengthen the financial system and who understands the government's view.

The nomination of a new governor is one of the most important appointments of Koizumi's tenure. The BOJ chief serves a five-year term and shapes monetary policy, a key instrument in helping Japan out of more than a decade of economic woe.

The choice of Fukui, 67, is a disappointment to those who were hoping Koizumi would pick a reformer who would push drastic measures.

Fukui spent 40 years with the BOJ prior to stepping down in 1998 and is unlikely to hew a course that is much different from the outgoing governor, Masaru Hayami, whose term ends on March 19.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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