TOKYO, July 6 — Japan’s Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, known as JA Zenchu, has appointed Toru Nakaya, 67, as the next chairman, at a time when the country’s most powerful farm group is undergoing drastic reforms.
Zenchu has been a prime target of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s structural changes to prop up a fragile economy.
In his election, Nakaya won widespread support – 152 out of 240 valid votes from Zenchu representatives across the country – while his sole contender in the race, Masatoshi Sudo, 69, received 88 votes.
This is Nakaya’s second challenge for Zenchu’s top post after the 2015 election. Nakaya is currently the chairman of JA Zenchu unit in Wakayama prefecture, central Japan.
Nakaya will succeed Choe Okuno, 70, on Aug. 10, when a special session of the General Assembly takes place to formally approve the recommendation, made by the selection committee on July 5. The chairman’s term is of three years.
Following the announcement, Nakaya said at a press conference in Wakayama, “I will continuously seek to reform the group and will complete it.
“My top priority is to make farm income grow,” he stressed. “Plus, I will aim to make our group indispensable among farmers as well as in their communities.”