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Seasoned labor economist Atsushi Seike was appointed new president of Keio University, the oldest private university in Japan, to replace Yuichiro Anzai in late May, the school announced Friday.

Seike, 55, graduated from Keio and is currently dean of its Faculty of Business and Commerce. He is also serving on the government’s advisory panels on labor and social security.

The decision by the Keio Board of Councilors came as a surprise following widespread speculation that 62-year-old Anzai would be reappointed for a third four-year term.

During Anzai’s eight years in office, the engineer and former dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology carried out sweeping reforms and successfully launched large projects to mark the school’s 150th anniversary last year.

Seike told a news conference that the tenure of the president should be limited to eight years over two terms maximum to ensure “smooth succession” of management policies and operational plans to the next leader. He said he would never seek a third term.

Seike emphasized that his team would succeed the various projects launched by Anzai but added that growing economic hardships and ever-intensifying competition would necessitate changes in the way the university’s human and financial resources are distributed.

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