Japan PM nearing decision on central bank chief

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is near a decision on a successor for outgoing Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Masaru Hayami, whose five-year term ends 19 March, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda indicated Tuesday.

"We are working (to appoint the central bank chief) considering that the government needs soon to give parliament the top candidate's name to allow one month for the appointment to be screened," Fukuda told reporters.

Fukuda suggested Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa was likely to