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Newly appointed TEPCO president is youngest to assume role

Newly appointed Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. President Tomoaki Kobayakawa speaks during a news conference in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on April 3, 2017. Pictured in the background is former Hitachi Ltd. Chairman Takashi Kawamura, who will serve as TEPCO's new chairman. (Mainichi)

The newly appointed president of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO), Tomoaki Kobayakawa, is the youngest to take up the position, at the age of 53.

The new president has expressed his resolve to follow through on dealing with the disaster at the power company's Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant and proceed with rehabilitation of the company.

Kobayakawa joined the power utility in 1988, and worked for many years in its corporate sales division. As public interest in global warming grew, he played a part in the development of the EcoCute heat pump water heating system, which consumed less than one-third of the electricity of conventional water heaters. He says he cultivated himself by listening to customers' requests, and distinguished himself by developing a sales mindset, which was previously rare in a monopolistic electricity industry.

In June 2015, he assumed the top sales post at TEPCO, including household sales. Ahead of the liberalization of the retail electricity market for household customers in April the following year, Kobayakawa promoted tie-ups with companies in different industries including Softbank Group Corp. and Nippon Gas Co. This enabled TEPCO to resist market newcomers by providing set discounts, packaging electricity deals with telecommunications and gas bills. Looking back, he recalls taking on a stream of new challenges.

As a hobby, Kobayakawa is part of a rock band, and he relieves stress by playing the electric guitar on his days off.

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