Despite resigning Thursday as president of Nippon Shinpan Co. over a scandal involving payoffs to racketeers, Yoji Yamada will stay on as an adviser at the nation’s largest consumer credit card firm.

Yamada was succeeded by Kazuhiro Omori, a managing director, said the firm, popularly known as Nicos, adding that Shigetoshi Ando, the vice president, filled the vacant position of chairman.

The reshuffle was approved at a board meeting early Thursday morning.

Eight Nicos officials were arrested Nov. 16 on suspicion of giving money to “sokaiya” corporate extortionist Kikuo Kondo for three years beginning in late 1999 in exchange for assurances that the firm’s general shareholders’ meetings would go smoothly. Such payoffs are illegal.

The firm moved Yamada, son of its founder, to an advisory position on condition that “he will not interfere in management,” Omori claimed at a news conference after assuming the presidency.

He said the firm will consider how much to pay Yamada in a retirement package.

Ando, who was also at the news conference as the new chairman, said he and Yamada decided to name Omori the new head of the company.

“We would like to make a fresh start with a system with the leadership of all board members,” rather than one in which the founding family members take the initiative, Ando said.

Omori, 58, joined the firm in 1967. He had been managing director since June 2001.

Nippon Shinpan also said all board members would get a pay cut of between 20 percent and 50 percent for six months starting in December.

Police said the company had been paying off Kondo since late 1991. But the arrests were made for the payments for which the three-year statute of limitations has not yet expired. Kondo, 60, is also under arrest.

Sokaiya, who hold shares in a company, specialize in extorting money from the target firm by various means, including blackmail and threats to disrupt shareholder meetings. They also run protection rackets by promising to keep other sokaiya away. The Commercial Code bans payoff to racketeers.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.