Japan tight-lipped on IMF head preference

TOKYO, May 24, 2011 (AFP) - Japan on Tuesday repeated calls for an "open" and "transparent" selection process for the new leader of the International Monetary Fund, to which it is the second-largest donor.

But it gave little away on whom it wants to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who recently resigned as managing director as he faces charges of sexual assault in the United States.

"We are not yet at a stage to evaluate those individuals" looking to replace Strauss-Kahn, Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said at a news conference.

Japan wants an "open, transparent and merit-based selection process," Noda said, reiterating similar comments made last week.

Noda's comments come as analysts watch whether European nations will maintain their traditional dominance of the top job of the 187-member international lender or cede it to fast-growing emerging economies.

Japan has yet to openly take the side of any country.

Mexico promoted its central bank governor Agustin Carstens against French favourite Christine Lagarde as the race to become the next IMF head officially got under way Monday. The IMF aims to replace Strauss-Kahn by June 30.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story --

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