NHK Chairman Sudo set to quit, focus on Tepco

JIJI

Fumio Sudo, chairman of NHK’s Board of Governors, said he will step down to focus on his upcoming role as outside director of Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Sudo, a consultant at JFE Holdings Inc., has faced criticism because his plan to double as Tepco outside director and chairman of NHK’s top decision-making body opened up questions about the neutrality of reporting by the public broadcaster.

At a news conference Thursday, Sudo said the decision to quit as chairman and member of the NHK board was his own. He said he took into account the criticism when making the decision.

Sudo will submit his resignation to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in the near future, becoming the second straight chairman of the NHK Board of Governors to quit before the end of his term.

Sudo assumed the post in April 2011 after Shigehiro Komaru, president of Fukuyama Transporting Co., squabbled with the board over managerial appointments.

Sudo made an about-face just two days after saying there would be no problem with holding the NHK and Tepco jobs simultaneously.

On Thursday, Sudo said he exchanged views with most members of the board and that their opinions were mixed. He said he decided Thursday afternoon to leave NHK and conveyed his intention to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

In a statement, NHK President Masayuki Matsumoto said he believes Sudo reached his conclusion following careful consideration.