IRC official to ensure it’s free of political meddling

by Tomoko Otake

The Industrial Revitalization Corp. will hire a compliance officer to ensure that it operates ethically and without political meddling, IRC President Atsushi Saito said Wednesday.

Formally launched Wednesday as a government-backed corporation, the IRC will become fully operational when its headquarters are opened in Tokyo’s Marunouchi district May 8.

To allay concerns that the revival body will bow to political pressure in selecting firms to resuscitate, the IRC will require its staff to report each inquiry from politicians to a compliance department and a body called the Industrial Revitalization Committee, Saito said.

If any of the committee’s seven members — who will be tasked with assessing restructuring plans from businesses and their main creditors — are deemed to have a conflict of interest with a company, they won’t be allowed to participate in evaluating the firm’s plan.

Saito, a former vice president of Nomura Securities Co., was formally chosen as president at the IRC’s first board meeting Wednesday.

In another step to prevent conflicts of interest, the IRC will not accept employees on loan from banks. Saito said, however, that he will welcome bankers who quit their jobs.

The entity plans to buy banks’ bad loans to troubled firms over the next two years, restructure the companies’ management and sell the loans back at a profit three years later.

The IRC is scheduled to be disbanded in five years.

The revival body will start with about 100 officials, including seven top-notch turnaround managers to lead its corporate rehabilitation efforts.