Former NHK announcer Imai Yoshinori (63, photo right) has been named as the network’s new vice chairman. He held a press conference yesterday with the new chairman, Fukuchi Shigeo (73, photo left). Imai, who officially takes on his new 3-year post from today, said he was as nervous as when he first started as a newscaster. He joined NHK as a journalist straight from Keio University in 1968, and later spent three years working at the Washington DC office. He started his TV career on “NHK News Wide” in 1986 and became a household name over the following decade. Fukuchi, the first NHK outsider to take on the top post in 20 years, began his term last Friday. The new management take over just when NHK has become embroiled in yet more financial scandals, and their main job will be to restore public trust in the network.
• “Kaabee” (Kabei – Our Mother), the latest movie from Yamada Yoji and starring Yoshinaga Sayuri (62), is the current box office hit. Over its opening three days, it was watched by more than 208,000 people across the country. The movie has been entered for the Golden Bear at the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival, which Yamada and Yoshinaga plan to attend.
• Singer-actress Shibasaki Kou (26) is releasing her first greatest hits album. “Single Best” will go on sale March 12. It includes all her 15 singles, which have combined sales of over 4 million. Also included is “The Back Best”, a second CD of selected album tracks.
• At No.1 on the latest Oricon album chart is “Zard Request Best – Beautiful Memory”. Zard, as vocalist Sakai Izumi came to be known when she was the only remaining member of the band, died in a fall at a Tokyo hospital last May. She tops the chart for the 11th time, putting her in joint first place for the most No.1’s by a female vocal group with Dreams Come True. Meanwhile, at No.1 on the singles chart are rock band Radwimps with “Ordermade”.