Gov't eyes replacing Japan Post head in June

The government is considering replacing the president of Japan Post Holdings Co. in June, only six months after he assumed the post at the state-owned firm, government sources said Friday.

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo admitted that the government has sounded out Taizo Nishimuro, 77, a former head of Toshiba Corp. who heads its advisory panel on privatizing the postal group, to succeed Atsuo Saka and "received a positive response" from him.

Saka, a former Finance Ministry bureaucrat, was promoted to the top post from vice president in December, after the general election paved the way for Shinzo Abe to assume the premiership. Saka is expected to step down after a shareholders meeting next month, the sources said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and other members of the government have voiced dissatisfaction with Saka as head of Japan Post, concerned over the presidency being filled by a former Finance Ministry official for the second time in a row. His predecessor was former vice finance minister Jiro Saito.

As head of the government advisory panel since 2012, Nishimuro, who was also president of Tokyo Stock Exchange Inc. after Toshiba, supported a plea last year from Japan Post Bank Co. and Japan Post Insurance Co., both Japan Post Holdings arms, to start offering new financial services.

In April 2012, the then ruling Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito party voted for and enacted a law to water down a 2005 law to fully privatize the postal banking and insurance services, but Suga and a few other LDP legislators crossed the party line and cast dissenting ballots.