• Kyodo News


Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kunio Hatoyama reiterated Wednesday he doesn’t want Yoshifumi Nishikawa to remain president of Japan Post Holdings Co., indicating he might quit if Prime Minister Taro Aso sticks to his decision to reappoint Nishikawa.

“Words of a politician carry much weight,” Hatoyama said. “I will not compromise my creed. I have the power to approve (the appointment of the Japan Post president). I won’t approve (Nishikawa).”

Nishikawa’s term expires this month.

Meanwhile, a senior official told reporters Wednesday that the government plans to settle the issue at an early time by allowing Nishikawa to stay in the post.

“It will not be decided by Mr. Hatoyama alone. He would understand if we explain,” the official said, adding the government plans to make arrangements for Nishikawa’s continued presidency.

Hatoyama, who has been vociferous in his objections to Japan Post’s dubious attempt to sell, at fire-sale prices, its nationwide Kampo no Yado resort inn network to leasing company Orix Corp., has proposed that Nishikawa be replaced with an influential business leader.

Aso has rejected the proposal and urged the issue be settled with Nishikawa keeping his job, sources said.

Aso was compelled to take direct control of the matter out of concern that his administration would be damaged if the spat were allowed to drag on, political observers said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura recently said the Cabinet as a whole would eventually decide the issue.

Japan Post announced late last year it was selling 70 inns and nine housing facilities to Orix for ¥10.9 billion as a result of competitive bidding.

Hatoyama voiced his opposition to the deal in January, saying it “could be seen as a race whose result has already been decided” because Orix Chairman Yoshihiko Miyauchi had been involved in crafting the government’s plan to privatize the postal service.

Japan Post and Orix agreed in mid-January to cancel the contract.

As recently as late last month, Nishikawa expressed determination to remain in his post, saying, “I cannot give up my duty before fulfilling it.”

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