New Japan Post chief vows to regain trust as ex-bureaucrats take reins after scandal

New Japan Post Holdings Co. President Hiroya Masuda pledged Monday to regain the public’s trust in the former state-owned postal group after a scandal involving the sale of insurance products disadvantageous to customers.

“We are facing the biggest crisis since the foundation (of the postal group),” Masuda told executives of the group after assuming the presidency the same day, vowing to make an all-out effort to resolve the problem.

“We will eliminate our customers’ disadvantages as soon as possible,” said 68-year-old Masuda, a former internal affairs and communications minister, the post which supervises the group’s services. “We must regain trust step by step.”

Masuda also called on executives to engage in customer-oriented operations, telling them to be “sincere and humble,” while requesting them to “notify bad news swiftly,” after the previous management was criticized for taking too much time to deal with the issue.

The change at the top came after the Financial Services Agency ordered on Dec. 27 the company’s units Japan Post Insurance Co. and Japan Post Co. to suspend new sales of insurance products for three months from Jan. 1.

An internal investigation by the group found 12,836 suspected breaches of law or in-house rules in the five years through March 2019 as of Dec. 15, with 670 of those cases confirmed.

Then-Japan Post Holdings President Masatsugu Nagato, 71, as well as the presidents of the two subsidiaries resigned Sunday to take responsibility for the scandal.

Tetsuya Senda, 59, assumed the presidency at Japan Post Insurance and Kazuhide Kinugawa, 62, took the helm of Japan Post on Monday.

Senda, Kinugawa and Masuda are former government bureaucrats.

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