Former Itochu, DBJ chief Minoru Murofushi dies at 84

Kyodo, JIJI

Minoru Murofushi, a former head of the Itochu Corp. trading house and the government-owned Development Bank of Japan, died Jan. 27 in a Tokyo hospital, Itochu said Tuesday. He was 84.

Murofushi led the DBJ when the lender implemented a series of emergency measures to support the nation’s economy and banking system in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis as well as the 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region.

His appointment at the DBJ was considered unusual, as the post was normally filled by former vice finance ministers.

It came at a time when, amakudari, the practice of giving lucrative postretirement jobs to former senior government officials, was facing strong public criticism. He was expected to usher in a fresh perspective, utilizing his experience in the private sector.

A native of Shizuoka Prefecture, Murofushi graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1956 and joined Itochu where he served as president and chairman.

Murofushi joined the DBJ in 2007. After the DBJ became a stock company in 2008, Murofushi assumed its presidency through June 2011. He restructured the bank’s business, focusing on investment in stocks and other riskier assets in addition to lending to development projects.

Murofushi also worked as chairman of the Japan Foreign Trade Council, an industry group of traders, and vice chairman of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun in 2004.