• Kyodo News


Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp. of Japan is considering appointing the president of Japan Air Commuter Co., a subsidiary of Japan Airlines Corp., as the struggling airline’s new chief operating officer, sources said Thursday.

The government-backed turnaround body and JAL have shortlisted Masaru Onishi, 54, and several other candidates to be second-in-command to Kyocera Corp. founder Kazuo Inamori, 77, who has agreed to become the next chief executive officer.

Meanwhile, the state-owned Development Bank of Japan and JAL’s other key creditor banks have officially decided to accept a court-backed rehabilitation plan being drawn up for the struggling carrier, according to other sources.

With the effective go-ahead from the previously reluctant commercial creditor banks, ETIC may announce its turnaround plan for JAL Tuesday, when the carrier will also file for bankruptcy protection under the Corporate Rehabilitation Law. JAL’s delisting is also expected soon afterward.

Once JAL files for bankruptcy, the company’s current president and CEO, Haruka Nishimatsu, 62, and other board members are expected to step down. Inamori is to double as chairman, while the new chief operating officer will double as president, the sources said.

Onishi has been heading Japan Air Commuter, based in Kagoshima Prefecture, since June and has spent his career at JAL in the maintenance as well as corporate planning divisions.

In addition to Onishi, Shigemi Kurusu, 54, president of subsidiary JAL Express, is also believed to be in the running.

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