NAGOYA — Central Japan Railway Co., operator of the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train line connecting Tokyo with Nagoya and Osaka, said Thursday it will appoint Shin Kaneko, one of three executive vice presidents, as president effective April 1.
Kaneko, 62, will succeed Koei Tsuge, 64, who will become chairman of the railway operator commonly known as JR Central. The appointment is part of a management reshuffle as Tsuge will have been president for four years at the beginning of the next fiscal year.
The reshuffle comes as the Nagoya-based company’s 9 trillion yen ($80.5 billion) project to build a Tokyo-Osaka high-speed maglev train link has been under scrutiny by prosecutors over suspected bid rigging involving four major contractors.
Tsuge said at a press conference in Nagoya that the personnel change has “no relation” to that matter.
Chairman Emeritus Yoshiyuki Kasai, 77, will remain at his post but cede a right to represent the company, while Chairman Yoshiomi Yamada, 69, will become an adviser to the board.
Kaneko has long worked in human resources and administrative divisions and said to be a prime candidate to become the chief executive. He has overseen the maglev train project that is scheduled to connect Tokyo and Osaka in about an hour — less than half the time currently required via shinkansen bullet trains.
The Toyama native, who graduated from the University of Tokyo, joined Japanese National Railways, the predecessor of JR group companies, in 1978. He assumed his current post in June 2012.