January 27, 2016 / 12:10 PM / 2 years ago

Japan LDP's Hayashi says 'ready for anything' as Abe mulls economy minister's fate

Japan's Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks during a news conference at the ministry in Tokyo February 23, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

TOKYO (Reuters) - Senior Japan ruling party lawmaker Yoshimasa Hayashi, considered a possible replacement for Economy Minister Akira Amari who has been accused of accepting bribes and faces opposition calls to resign, said he must be ready for anything but wants Amari to remain in his post.

Hayashi, the deputy chief of the Liberal Democratic Party’s tax panel, is a veteran politician who has previously served as economy minister.

The Bank of Japan should consider options besides buying government debt for quantitative easing because the BOJ has less room to expand purchases compared to other central banks, Hayashi said in an interview with Reuters.

Amari is expected to hold a news conference on Thursday to offer an explanation over accusations he had taken bribes, a top government spokesman said, suggesting that a decision over whether he will stay in his post is imminent. Amari has said he has done nothing illegal and that he was told by Abe to fulfill his duty as minister.

Amari, a core member of premier Shinzo Abe’s economic policy team, is under fire over a media report that he and his aides had accepted money from a construction company in exchange for helping the firm receive compensation for disputes over land ownership and waste removal at a public works site.

Reporting by Stanley White and Takashi Umekawa; Editing by Edmund Klamann

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