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Posts minister Toranosuke Katayama on Friday appointed Masaharu Ikuta, chairman of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., as the first head of a new public corporation to be established in April to run the nation’s postal services.

The letter of appointment was handed to Ikuta at the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry on Friday afternoon, ministry officials said.

Ikuta’s appointment, approved at a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day, was announced Monday by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Speaking to reporters after the formal appointment, Ikuta said, “I will do my utmost to lead the planned corporation toward serving the best interest of the public.”

He also said he plans to appoint private-sector personnel to senior posts at the new public entity, which is to take over the three state-run postal services of mail delivery, postal savings and “kampo” life insurance.

Ikuta, 67, became chairman of Mitsui O.S.K. in June 2000 after serving as president of the shipping company from 1994. He is a vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) and a member of the government’s deregulation panel.

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