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Hitachi chairman poised to head top Japan business lobby

Political influence and adroit leadership likely won Nakanishi the role

Japan Business Federation Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara, right, and Vice Chair Hiroaki Nakanishi attend a meeting of the government's Council on Investments for the Future in November.

TOKYO -- The Japan Business Federation plans to appoint Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi as its next chairman, recognizing his management skills in rescuing the industrial conglomerate after the global financial crisis, as well as his rapport with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Sadayuki Sakakibara, the outgoing chairman of the powerful business lobby also known as Keidanren, will officially put forward as early as Jan. 6 the proposal to promote Nakanishi, now a vice chair. The chairman and vice chairs are expected to approve the appointment at a meeting Jan. 9, with Nakanishi to be formally chosen at the organization's general meeting in late May, when Sakakibara's term ends. Nakanishi would be the first Keidanren leader hailing from Hitachi.

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