After months of searching, the government has picked lawyer Kazuhiko Shimokobe to become chairman of embattled Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Shimokobe is knowledgeable about TEPCO's management and financial situation.
The government has also decided to replace the president of the utility, to clarify the responsibility of the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and to step up monitoring of its management. The successor to Toshio Nishizawa, 60, is expected to be chosen within TEPCO.
The April 18 decision for the new chairman came after the government announced its plan to inject public funds into the cash-strapped company.
The current chairman, Tsunehisa Katsumata, will step down at a general shareholders’ meeting in June.
Shimokobe, 64, currently heads the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund set up by the government and utilities to pay compensation to victims of last year's nuclear disaster.
The lawyer served as chairman of the government's investigation committee on TEPCO's management and finance.
With the Facilitation Fund planning a capital injection of around 1 trillion yen ($12.3 billion) into TEPCO, the Noda administration had been making a list of candidates for new chairman, acknowledging the need for a personnel change.
A number of names were touted in recent months, but there were no takers.
Shimokobe once served as an adviser to the Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan and as an outside board member of Japan Post Holdings Co.
He also played a role in devising a plan to rehabilitate failed major credit loan firm Life Co.
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