Mexico's candidate to lead the International Monetary Fund on Friday called on Japan for support in his battle with France's Christine Lagarde for the top job as he met with officials in Tokyo.
Agustin Carstens, 53, the governor of Mexico's central bank, is the clear underdog in the race to become the next managing director of the IMF following the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn last month.
Carstens met with Japan's Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda in Tokyo following a visit to Beijing Thursday. Noda did not express his view on candidates for the IMF job, Carstens said.
Japan has yet to give its clear support to either candidate.
However, many expect the second-biggest stakeholder in the IMF after the United States to back frontrunner Lagarde, 55, who has already won support from European Union members and some other countries.
In a news conference following his meeting with Noda, Carstens said he hoped Greece's cabinet reshuffle earlier in the day would bring Athens closer to making the tough decisions needed to avert a worsening sovereign debt crisis.
Embattled Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Friday axed his finance minister, naming a former foe to implement deeply unpopular austerity measures and ward off economic meltdown.
"The events that have taken place today, if they would be conducive to facilitate reaching a consensus in the country for the difficult measures that Greece needs to take, that's a very positive step," Carstens said.
He added, however, that even if the political situation stabilises, the IMF and the European Union "will need to work with Greece and help Greece in taking these tough decisions."
Tension is building over Greece's debt woes as markets contemplate the possibility of a Greek default, which would strain European banks amid concerns it could possibly trigger another global financial crisis.
Carstens' campaign to win support from major emerging nations has faltered in the face of Lagarde's worldwide charm offensive.
Europe has maintained a 65-year lock on the top job at the Washington-based lender according to an unwritten agreement, but emerging nations such as China and India have questioned the tradition, calling it outdated.
The race for the IMF leadership began last month after Strauss-Kahn resigned to face sexual assault charges in New York.
Lagarde, France's finance minister, and Carstens were placed on the shortlist earlier this week by the IMF's 24-member board, which is expected to make a decision by June 30 after interviewing the candidates.
Carstens, who served as the IMF's number three from 2003-2006 before returning to Mexico City to become finance minister and then central bank chief, admitted in Beijing Thursday that getting the top job would be difficult.
-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story --