Ex-SMFG Pres. Nishikawa Dies at 82

Economy Society Politics

Tokyo, Sept. 12 (Jiji Press)--Former Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. <8316> President Yoshifumi Nishikawa, who led the creation of the Japanese megabank group, died at age 82 on Friday.

Nishikawa, who also served as president of Japan Post Holdings Co. <6178>, earned the nickname Japan's "last banker" for his strong presence during the financial industry's bad loan crisis that followed the collapse of an asset bubble in the early 1990s.

Nishikawa became president of Sumitomo Bank in 1997, when big financial institutions including Yamaichi Securities Co. and Hokkaido Takushoku Bank went bankrupt in the midst of the financial crisis.

He powerfully implemented bad loan write-offs at his bank while leading a merger between Sumitomo Bank and Sakura Bank in 2001. The deal stunned many because it was a union of key members of the rivaling Sumitomo and Mitsui zaibatsu conglomerates.

Nishikawa decided on the deal just after the announcement of a merger plan among Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Fuji Bank and Industrial Bank of Japan to create the country's first megabank group, now led by Mizuho Financial Group Inc. <8411>.

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Jiji Press