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NHK to Replace Controversial Chairman

Variety logo Variety 12/7/2016 Mark Schilling
© Provided by Variety

TOKYO – Ryoichi Ueda, a former Mitsubishi Corp. CFO, has been appointed as the next chairman of Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

Ueda will take over from Katsuto Momii, the controversial current chairman, who is being ousted after his first three-year term.

Momii, a former businessman, drew fire starting from the moment of his inauguration in January 2014. He voiced veiled support for the wartime use of ‘comfort women,” a euphemism for women coerced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military.

He also suggested that NHK had no choice but to follow government policy. The company has long maintained that it is editorially independent of government control.

Following these and other scandals, calls arose in the media and elsewhere for Momii’s resignation, but he has clung to his post for his entire three-year term. He will leave office on January 24.

Ueda has been a member of the 12-person NHK board since June, 2013 and is also currently a member of the broadcaster’s audit committee. He was in charge of the investigation into Momii’s alleged improper expensing to NHK of a car hired for a private golf excursion in 2015.

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