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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Airbus Hires Ex-U.S. Trade Official

TOKYO -- Airbus named former Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Glen Fukushima as president of its Japan unit on Wednesday, as the European aircraft maker battles the domination of U.S. rival Boeing here.

Although Airbus SAS controls more than half the world's commercial aircraft market, it has only about 1 percent of Japan's.

Airbus chief commercial officer John Leahy said a new management team was being set up to fix that. Leahy said he hopes to win orders for Airbus' just unveiled "superjumbo" A380, and criticized Boeing's control of Japan's market as "a monopoly" that was pushing up prices.

"We are willing to compete on prices," Leahy told reporters.

In December, Japan Airlines said it will purchase 30 of Chicago-based Boeing's 787, formerly known as the 7E7 Dreamliner, with an option to order 20 more.

That order followed a purchase of Boeing 787s announced last April by Japan's No. 2 carrier, All Nippon Airways.

Fukushima, an American, said Airbus needs to build a relationship of trust with carriers in Japan because the culture tends to place greater importance on history and human networking, where Boeing has a track record. But he said that he needs more time to come up with a specific strategy on how to achieve results here.

"We are confident about the potential of the A380 in the Japanese market," he said.

In addition to serving as deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for Japan and China, Fukushima has been a businessman in recent years, serving as vice president at AT&T Japan Ltd. and other posts.