• Kyodo News


Former Keio University President Yuichiro Anzai said Tuesday he declined to assume the presidency of NHK because of his strong distrust of the public broadcaster’s board of governors and its chairman, Shigehiro Komaru.

Anzai, 64, accepted late last year the board’s offer to become president of NHK, replacing incumbent President Shigeo Fukuchi, whose three-year term ends Jan. 24.

However, Komaru later asked him to turn down the offer after concerns spread among the 12 members of the board of governors, the broadcaster’s top decision-making body, about speculation that Anzai had attached certain conditions regarding personnel and perks associated with the post, sources said.

Anzai, speaking at a news conference Tuesday, said he would be unable to improve the broadcaster under the current board of governors, which he said had failed to maintain a consistent position and judged him based on rumors.

Anzai told reporters he had never attached any conditions to become NHK president.

“I repeatedly declined the board’s offer for me to assume the NHK presidency and finally accepted it for the sake of the country,” he said.

“Nevertheless, I was asked to decline the offer. I was really offended.

“The board of governors has judged me only from rumors, some of which are slanderous,” Anzai said.

The board of governors was scheduled to discuss a successor to Fukuchi later Tuesday.

Anzai, a former professor in cognitive and information science at Keio University, served as the university’s dean from 2001 to 2009.

Fukuchi, 76, assumed NHK’s presidency in January 2008, after serving as president, chairman and adviser of Asahi Breweries Ltd. He has expressed his desire to retire citing his age and health.

Fukuchi became the first president from a private organization in about 20 years after his predecessor, Genichi Hashimoto, resigned to take responsibility for a series of scandals involving NHK staff.

The broadcaster’s board of governors handles every important matter concerning NHK’s management policy and operations, including the annual budget, operational plan and basic programming policy, according to the NHK website.

The board consists of 12 well-informed and experienced governors who can make impartial decisions in the public interest. The governors are approved by both houses of the Diet on behalf of the public and appointed by the prime minister.

A candidate to become NHK president requires the backing of at least nine members of the board.

Komaru, president of trucking firm Fukuyama Transporting Co., became chairman in December 2008, succeeding Shigetaka Komori, president of Fujifilm Holdings Corp.

Anzai, former Waseda University President Katsuhiko Shirai, 71, and former Nippon Yusen K.K. Chairman Takao Kusakai, 70, were among a number of candidates for NHK president at the board’s December meeting.

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