• Kyodo

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Lotte Holdings Co. said Monday its shareholders support a plan to strengthen the conglomerate’s corporate governance under the current management led by Vice Chairman Akio Shigemitsu, effectively confirming his leadership amid a family feud with his older brother.

During a roughly 15-minute shareholders meeting in Tokyo, management control of the holding company was not part of the official agenda, but the majority of the shareholders approved a plan to appoint an outside director, the company said.

The meeting came amid concerns about the governance structure at the Lotte group founded by Akio’s 92-year-old South Korean-born father, Takeo Shigemitsu, whose Korean name is Shin Kyuk-ho. Takeo, honorary chairman of Lotte Holdings, did not attend the meeting.

The battle over control of Tokyo-based Lotte Holdings, which serves as the headquarters for the South Korean-Japanese conglomerate, surfaced in late July when Takeo and his elder son, Hiroyuki Shigemitsu, 61, told the company Akio had been dismissed along with some other executives.

Lotte Holdings held a board meeting the following day and stripped Takeo of the right to represent the company, giving him the new post of honorary chairman in an effective demotion.

Hiroyuki had been dismissed as Lotte Holdings’ vice chairman in January.

Lotte Holdings is an unlisted company and details about its shareholders are not disclosed.

Akio said in a statement Monday that “management and family (affairs) should not be confused” and that his company will accelerate efforts toward making its management open.

Hiroyuki, who attended the shareholders meeting, told reporters he apologized for causing any trouble.

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