• Kyodo News

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Japan Airlines Corp., which recently filed for bankruptcy protection, said Wednesday it will appoint Masaru Onishi, head of a JAL subsidiary, as its new president to oversee the company’s state-led rehabilitation process.

Onishi, the 54-year-old president of Japan Air Commuter Co., will officially take his position as president and group chief operating officer on Feb. 1 along with Kyocera Corp. founder Kazuo Inamori, who has already agreed to become JAL’s chairman.

It will be the first appointment of a president whose background is in maintenance, as the airline seeks to ensure safe operations during drastic restructuring measures to turn around its business.

Onishi will take the place of Haruka Nishimatsu, 62, who stepped down as president and chief executive officer after JAL filed for protection under the Corporate Rehabilitation Law last week.

Most of the former management will be replaced following the launch of Inamori’s team.

Hisao Taguchi, 54-year-old executive officer of Japan Airlines International Co. — JAL’s operating arm, which also filed for court protection — will be appointed vice president, the company said.

A government-backed turnaround body sponsoring JAL’s rehabilitation had been making arrangements to appoint Onishi as president, but the appointment was put on hold until Inamori gave his approval.

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