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Mutsumi Ozaki, president of Kamigumi Co., became president of the Japan Harbor Transportation Association after his appointment was approved in a general meeting on June 18.

“I hope to strengthen our organization,” Ozaki, 64, said after the meeting. “We have to protect employment opportunities for our members.”

The association is one of four groups currently discussing ways to simplify Japan’s harbor practices, recently a focus of severe criticism from the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. The commission states that Japanese port practices such as prior consultations are not transparent and hinder foreign firms trying to enter the market.

The other groups are the Japan Foreign Steamship Association, the Japanese Shipowners’ Association and the Transport Ministry. The association includes about 1,800 companies. Shiroo Takashima, Ozaki’s predecessor, died earlier this month.

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