Hisashi Shinto, 92, the first president of Japanese telecommunications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., who was forced to resign over a bribery scandal in the late 1980s, died Sunday in Tokyo of pneumonia.
Shinto studied shipbuilding at Kyushu Imperial University, and in 1972 became president of Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. He left in 1981 to head the government-run telephone utility NTT Public Corp. As president, he supervised its privatization. He was appointed chairman in June 1988.
But six months later, Shinto resigned amid a bribery scandal tied to the information-media enterprise Recruit Co. The scandal, which exposed deep-seated corruption among business and government leaders, changed the political climate in Japan and left many voters disenchanted about politicians.
Two prime ministers and more than a dozen other senior politicians, government officials and corporate executives implicated in the scandal quit their posts.
In March 1989, Shinto was arrested on charges of profiting from dubious stocks he received from Recruit. He was convicted in 1990 and sentenced to a two-year suspended prison term.