TOKYO , Dec. 26 -- ( Kyodo ) _ (EDS: ADDING INFO) Mizuho Financial Group Inc. said Thursday its Chairman Takashi Tsukamoto will step down from his post on March 31 to take responsibility for its core banking unit's loans to members of organized crime groups. Mizuho Bank President Yasuhiro Sato will also take a self-imposed salary cut for one year as Japan's Financial Services Agency ordered the megabank to suspend some of its affiliated loans between Jan. 20 and Feb. 19 over the lender's involvement in transactions with "antisocial forces," it said. The financial watchdog also ordered the bank's parent Mizuho Financial Group to improve its business as it failed to fulfill its responsibility for management over the bank. The agency said that although executives of the bank were aware of the issue, they "left the matter up to the compliance department without taking specific and clear measures" to sever ties with gangsters. It also pointed out that the bank's top management failed to "properly instruct and manage Orient Corp. " through which it offered loans and that "it failed to develop a sense of compliance." The latest orders follow one issued to Mizuho Bank in September to improve operations after it failed to take substantial steps to prevent or break off transactions with antisocial forces for over two years despite its knowledge of the matter. The FSA decided to take additional punitive action against the holding firm after determining it was responsible for failing to prevent the bank from submitting a false report to the agency. Mizuho Bank originally claimed its top management had not been aware of the issue, but it later admitted that Sato and former President Satoru Nishibori were in a position to know. A third-party panel set up by the bank concluded after a probe that the bank had no intention of concealing the loan problem when it submitted a false report to the FSA. The agency launched additional inspections on Nov. 5 of Mizuho Bank and Mizuho Financial Group to verify the panel's findings. An agency official said at a press conference in Tokyo that its inspection found no evidence that the lender systematically covered up the matter, but added "it only relied on memories of an official in charge of the matter and did not look at materials in the past."
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