Subject: [cwj 111] President of Japan's revived NCB commits suicide
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 12:52:21 -0700
Seq: 111

Thursday, September 21, 2000
President of Japan's revived NCB commits suicide

TOKYO, Sept 21 (AFP) - 

The president of Japan's Nippon Credit Bank Ltd., Tadayo Honma, committed a
suicide just weeks after taking over as head of the troubled bank, a bank
spokesman said Thursday.

The bank had initially attributed his death to a heart attack after its new
boss died in hospital in the western city of Osaka on Wednesday morning.

The 60-year-old former executive director of the Bank of Japan was found
leaning by the window in a hotel room with a three-meter-(9.9-feet)-long
curtain cord around his neck, Jiji Press news agency said.

In the room Honma left five suicide notes addressed to his family and
colleagues, Kyodo news agency said, quoting police officials.

His secretary, who was to meet Honma for breakfast, entered the room with a
hotel employee to find him semi-conscious.

He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police refused to confirm the reports.

The bank meanwhile shrugged off charges that it misled the media by
attributing the death to a heart attack.

"Before we announced his death, it is true that we had heard that he might
have committed suicide," said a spokesman for the Tokyo-based NCB.

"But Mr. Honma being at the top of the management, we could not say
anything until we could confirm what exactly happened," he said.

"We were also surprised when we came to know about it," the spokesman said.

Honma assumed the top position at the bank on September 4 after the
government agreed to plough 260 billion yen (2.4 billion dollars) into the
collapsed bank to help shore up its capital under new ownership.

In August, the Finance Reconstruction Committee separately agreed to invest
3,071.5 billion yen in NCB to cover its massive liabilities and clear the
way for the sale to a Softbank Corp-led consortium on September 1.

As well as Japan's top Internet investor Softbank, the bank's investors
include Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. and leasing firm Orix Corp.

The bank's plan to rebuild itself will remain on track despite Honma's
death, said Orix spokesman Satoru Katahira.

"The rehabilitation plan for the bank was not formed or administered by Mr.
Honma alone," he told AFP.

"Currently, the three companies are discussing who to bring in as the next
president -- someone who can continue Mr. Honma's work," Katahira said.
"Probably, the new person can be named as early as next week."

An analyst predicted a tough time for the bank.

"I don't think the death of Mr. Honma itself will change the situation at
the bank so much, but the job of rebuilding the bank will remain
difficult," said Tsubasa Research Institute analyst Kazumasa Ise.

"Honma's death symbolizes the difficulties involved in bringing failed
banks onto a healthy footing," he said.

"Banking is a type of business that requires the public's trust. And
Japanese people value brand-name quality. After failing, NCB was put in an
extremely tough situation to regain the public's trust."

NCB collapsed in December 1998 and went into temporary state ownership. The
bank will be renamed Aozora (Blue Sky) Bank Ltd. on January 4.

The bank's senior managing director Yoshinobu Kotera, 51, would take over
the head of the bank "for the time being," the NCB spokesman said.

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