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Hisashi Shinto, who was president of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. when it was privatized in 1985, died of pneumonia Sunday morning, NTT officials said. He was 92.

After graduating from Kyushu Imperial University, where he studied shipbuilding, Shinto became the president of Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. in 1972.

However, at the request of the late Toshio Doko, former honorary chairman of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), Shinto left Ishikawajima-Harima in 1981 to head the government-run telephone utility NTT Public Corp. Keidanren is the predecessor of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren).

As its first president, Shinto led the former government-run utility through privatization and oversaw its initial public offering of shares, in April 1985. He was appointed chairman in June 1988.

In the same year, Shinto stepped down as chairman after a bribery scandal tied to the information-media enterprise Recruit Co. was revealed. In March 1989, Shinto was arrested on charges of profiting from dubious stocks he had received from Recruit.

Two prime ministers and more than a dozen other senior politicians, government officials and corporate executives implicated in the scandal quit their posts.

In 1990, the Tokyo District Court sentenced Shinto to a two-year suspended sentence.

Though he became the adviser to NTT group in 1997, he retired in March 2001. He has been in and out of the hospital recently.

A private wake and a funeral for close relatives are expected to be held in the coming days.

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