• Kyodo

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Japan Tobacco Inc. has tapped Masamichi Terabatake, an executive at a unit controlling the cigarette maker’s international operations, to succeed President Mitsuomi Koizumi, sources said Sunday.

The leadership change comes as Japan Tobacco, which holds about 60 percent of the domestic cigarette market, seeks to expand its global reach amid falling demand at home caused by a health boom and the growing popularity of heat-not-burn tobacco products.

At 51, Terabatake will become the company’s youngest president since it was established through the 1985 privatization of the Japanese state monopoly. He is currently deputy CEO of Geneva-based Japan Tobacco International SA.

The personnel decision could be finalized by Japan Tobacco’s board by the end of the month and would then be subject to approval at a general shareholders’ meeting in March, the sources said.

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