Candidate rejects prexy post at Japanese pubcaster

Anzai blames unfounded rumors about him for withdrawing

TOKYO — With only two weeks before NHK topper Shigeo Fukuchi retires the pubcaster has been left in the lurch after its candidate turned down the job.

Yuichiro Anzai, former prexy of Keio U., said in a presser Tuesday that he was rejecting NHK because unidentified parties on the board of governors had been spreading unfounded rumors about him.

According to Anzai, the board made him three offers, the last in late December, which he accepted. But he told reporters that on Monday he was asked by board chairman Shigehiro Komaru to withdraw, saying the board had heard reports that Anzai was making unreasonable demands regarding personal expenses, living quarters and the appointment of the NHK vice chairman.

Anzai angrily denied making any such requests, saying the board was judging him from what he described as “slanderous” rumors. In such a climate of mutual distrust, it would be impossible for him to work with the board, he added.

“After rejecting it several times, I accepted the chairman’s offer for the sake of Japan and to be asked to withdraw now is extremely unpleasant,” he said.

NHK rep Reiko Saisho said the pubcaster has no comment about Anzai’s allegations. She added an announcement may be forthcoming on Wednesday about another candidate to fill the NHK post. Former Waseda U. prexy Katsuhiko Shirai and former Nippon Yusen chairman Takao Kusakai have been mentioned as prexy candidates.

NHK has been hit by internal scandals in recent years, forcing prexy Genichi Hashimoto to resign in 2008. He was replaced by Fukichi, a former chairman and adviser to Asahi Breweries, the first outsider to take the top NHK job.

Fukichi, 76, is stepping down after his first three-year term for health reasons, starting a search for his successor.

The NHK prexy is responsible for the day-to-day running of the pubcaster, while the 12-man board, whose appointments are made by the prime minister and approved by both houses of Japan’s parliament, is in charge of overall budgetary, policy and planning matters.