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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 17:04 GMT
Japan Airlines head to step down
JAL chief executive Toshiyuki Shinmachi
Toshiyuki Shinmachi said he was "ending the turmoil"
The chief executive of Japan Airlines is to step down, the company says, amid heavy losses, management turmoil and a number of safety lapses.

Toshiyuki Shinmachi will be replaced by Senior Vice-President Haruka Nishimatsu in June, and will become chairman.

Mr Nishimatsu admitted the nation's biggest carrier faced a crisis that "endangers its very survival".

Japan Airlines is forecasting a loss of 47 billion yen ($405m; 230m) for the financial year ending 31 March.

Shares rise

Mr Shinmachi had been under pressure to resign but until now had refused to do so. Hundreds of managers had signed petitions calling for him to go.

"I've made up my mind to end the turmoil," he said.

Japan Airlines has been losing customers to All Nippon Airways and in addition to the forecast losses has suffered embarrassing safety problems, including one jet that took off in December with a faulty latch.

The company's shares rose 4.8% on news of Mr Shinmachi's move.

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