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In an example that “amakudari” remains pervasive, Norinchukin Bank is planning to appoint Yoshio Kobayashi, a former vice agricultural minister, as head of its subsidiary, the Norinchukin Research Institute, sources said Monday.

The move is expected to provoke further criticism of amakudari, in which former government officials land high-ranking positions after retirement at entities related to the sectors they formerly supervised.

Norinchukin Bank, the de facto central bank for agricultural cooperatives, plans to make Kobayashi chairman of the institute, its top position, the sources said. Kobayashi is a former adviser of the institute.

Norinchukin Bank is struggling after falling into the red with a record net loss of ¥565.7 billion on an unconsolidated basis in fiscal 2008.

The sources said the move is aimed at preventing relations with the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry from worsening.

Although Kobayashi was once seen as a candidate to succeed Norinchukin Bank President Hirofumi Ueno, another former vice farm minister, Vice President Yoshio Kono, a career official at the bank, took office as president in April.

The farm ministry also attempted to have a former vice minister land the post of vice president of the bank, but the lender decided in May to instead appoint a senior managing director of the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives.

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