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Government may greenlight direct stock investing

TOKYO -- Japan is considering letting its giant public pension fund invest directly in stocks in order to curb management fees and increase flexibility, though the move could raise concerns about undue political influence over corporate affairs.

     A Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare panel advising on pension matters on Tuesday began discussing changes to the structure and operation of the Government Pension Investment Fund. The group eyes drawing up a reform plan as soon as January and introducing the relevant bill during the Diet's regular session next year. The fund could thus be allowed to make direct investments as early as 2016.

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