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‘Amakudari’ returns: Ex-bureaucrat set to head Shoko Chukin Bank

JIJI

Shoko Chukin Bank said it will promote Deputy President Hideji Sugiyama, a former vice industry minister, to president to replace Tetsuo Seki.

The appointment will be finalized with the approval of the bank’s board and the industry and finance ministers after a general meeting of shareholders on June 21.

Sugiyama, 65, will be the first official from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to head the lender in more than four years.

During the postwar period, the bank’s top slot was occupied without interruption by retired METI officials until 2008, when Seki, former vice president of Nippon Steel Corp., a predecessor of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., took over as president.

Shoko Chukin Bank offered the top post to Seki in October 2008 when the government lender became a stock company. The appointment was designed to ease criticism about the practice of “amakudari,” or giving lucrative postretirement jobs to former senior government officials.

The bank said it decided to promote Sugiyama after evaluating his performance as deputy president.

Sugiyama joined METI’s predecessor, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, in 1971. He became vice minister in 2004 after serving as director general of the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency and the ministry’s Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau.

He retired from the ministry in 2006 and became deputy president of the bank in October 2008.