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Hokkaido's rail operator switches tracks with new chairman

Hiring of the man behind JR East's Suica smart card signals focus on profitability

A Hokkaido Shinkansen bullet trains arrives at Tokyo Station: The coronavirus outbreak has routed the Japanese railway operator's revenue. (Photo by Tomoki Mera)

TOKYO -- Hokkaido Railway, the in-the-red laggard of the Japan Railway group, plans to turn around its finances by tapping a familiar source for its next chairman: sister company East Japan Railway.

While Yoshitaka Taura is the third chairman in a row to come over from East Japan Railway, the selection of a man without an engineering degree is a decidedly different choice from his two predecessors, who came with strong technical backgrounds.

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