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Kosaku Inaba, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, officially announced Thursday that he intends to step down in July 2001.

He said he would appoint Nobuo Yamaguchi, vice chairman of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and chairman of Asahi Chemical Industry Co., as his successor.

Inaba, 76, who is also chairman of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and chairman of Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industry, will step down before the end of his third term. His second term ends in November.

“I would like to resign at a regular general meeting in July (2001),” Inaba told a press conference. “I will resign after serving about seven months (in the third term), and it is better for me to appoint my successor. I’d like to recommend Vice Chairman Nobuo Yamaguchi.”

Despite an understanding within the JCCI that the head and deputy chairman of the JCCI should serve no more than two terms, Inaba expressed his intention in February to continue his chairmanship into a third term.

Thursday’s announcement is widely viewed as a compromise between Inaba and those who respect the understanding, by letting Inaba step down during his third term. As one of the reasons for seeking a third term, Inaba said that he must chair an international conference, the Pacific Basin Economic Council, which is to be held next April in Tokyo.

“I happen to have started my two-year term as international chairman of PBEC. . . . In order to collect financial resources (for the conference), I had better stay (as JCCI chairman) at least until April,” Inaba said.