• Kyodo

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The president of Mizuho Financial Group Inc. apologized to shareholders Tuesday for Mizuho Bank’s massive computer system glitch in March, vowing measures to prevent a recurrence while also seeking support for a bold organizational restructuring to unify its core banking units.

At the outset of the annual shareholders’ general meeting, President Takashi Tsukamoto apologized for the “extensive inconvenience caused to customers, shareholders and the general public.”

At the three-hour meeting, the longest in the group’s history, shareholders demanded that the group’s special advisers, who previously held top management posts at the company, return their salaries to take responsibility for the debacle.

The glitch suspended the bank’s automated teller machines and teller window services intermittently from March 15 to 18, adding to the chaos in the aftermath of the March 11 disaster.

Mizuho Financial Group, the country’s second-biggest banking group in terms of assets, also explained to shareholders its restructuring plan, including integration of personnel management, to pave the way for the merger of Mizuho Bank and Mizuho Corporate Bank possibly in 2013.

This includes doing away with the current practice under which top posts at the group have been equally assigned among officials from the three founding banks — Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Fuji Bank and Industrial Bank of Japan.

In response to a shareholder’s question about the possibility that Mizuho may be forced to write off loans extended to Tokyo Electric Power Co., Managing Director Masaaki Kono said, “We have not received such a request, nor are we making such an assumption.”

At a board meeting that followed, Mizuho Corporate Bank President Yasuhiro Sato was named chief executive officer for Mizuho Financial Group.

He was handed the task of restoring public confidence in the group.

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