Sato to become first internally promoted Japan Coast Guard head

The government plans to name Yuji Sato, the Japan Coast Guard's vice commandant for operations, to replace Takashi Kitamura as JCG commandant, government sources said Thursday.

Sato, 59, will be the first head of the JCG to have risen through its ranks, with the post having previously been held by former transport ministry officials.

The appointment reflects Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policy of promoting hardworking frontline officials including women to higher posts, the sources said.

Sato is well versed in maritime security operations, having served as chief radio officer on a JGC patrol ship based at the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.