Japan Tobacco Inc. plans to appoint Director Hiroshi Kimura as the new president to succeed Katsuhiko Honda, who will become adviser, company officials said Thursday.

The appointment will take effect after official approval at the board meeting in late June, they said.

Honda, 64, became president in 2000 and has promoted restructuring measures, including downsizing of the workforce and closing tobacco plants.

Kimura, 52, served as director between 1999 and 2001 and was appointed director again in June 2005.

He would be the second consecutive JT president to emerge from within the company. Until 2000, former Finance Ministry officials served as presidents at JT, which had been a state corporation until its privatization in 1985.

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