New JR East chief sees huge potential in sales at stations

The new focus of East Japan Railway Co. will be on managing group companies and commercializing its railway stations, said Mutsutake Otsuka, the firm’s president-elect, at a press conference Tuesday.

Current president and chief executive officer Masatake Matsuda will be stepping down to become chairman without the right to represent the firm, the company said.

Japanese accounting rules are gradually changing to emphasize consolidated finance management.

Otsuka, an executive vice president, said he will review the group’s management and is considering forming alliances with non-JR firms in some areas.

“I think we have to explore various possibilities,” he told the press one day after the management change was officially announced. “Stations are the best asset we own. How we change them into an asset that can generate returns will be a very important point in developing the service business.”

Otsuka’s appointment to the presidency is expected to be approved at a shareholders’ meeting in June. Final approval rests with the transport minister.

Matsuda said that as chairman, he will continue to push for complete privatization. of the firm.

The government still holds 500,000 shares of JR East, one of a handful of firms created by the break up of the state-controlled Japan National Railways.