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Fukuhara New Fiscal Head at VIZ

Hidemi Fukuhara joins VIZ LLC as the new vice chairman/cfo, replacing Satoru Fujii, who is retiring from day-to-day operations, but will remain on the VIZ board of directors.

In his new capacity, Fukahara will direct and oversee all financial and operational concerns of the company. He will be responsible for the companys domestic and foreign financial and fiscal management policies, provide guidance to senior-level management and help to direct the daily operation of the company. In addition, Fukahara will develop and supervise the implementation of VIZs strategic business roadmap, programs and systems as well as represent the company externally to the media, investment community and the general public.

Were delighted to have such a seasoned financial executive as Mr. Fukuhara join our executive team, said Seiji Horibuchi, president/ceo of VIZ. Fukuhara has had a stellar career during his 19 years at Merrill Lynch, leading the companys overseas Japan business to become the markets dominant incumbent during his tenure. VIZ is on an aggressive growth path to expand and diversify its businesses into new market frontiers, and Mr. Fukuharas proven fiscal and managerial experience in guiding companies on the fast track to success will prove invaluable in helping us to achieve our goals.

"I chose VIZ because of its strong management team, large catalog base, and unified vision of becoming the leading provider of anime and manga in North America, said Fukuhara. Anime and manga are amongst the fastest growing markets in America and its fan base is growing across all ages and cultures. I look forward to leveraging my financial and management background in helping to drive the executive team, optimizing workflow efficiencies and helping the company focus on the creation of additional services and products that will complement the markets direction maximizing our revenue and profit base for many years to come.

Fukuhara brings to VIZ more than 30 years of senior executive and financial experience with a diverse background that includes strategic planning, finance, operations, cost and business management. He honed his managerial and leadership skills early on while employed at Merrill Lynch Japan Securities (MLJS) in Japan. He moved quickly up the ranks from the fixed income sales department to become the md of MLJSs sales division. Under his watch, revenues soared from $30 million to more than $500 million. Soon after, Fukuhara was appointed president/representative director for Merrill Lynch Asset Management where, under his guidance and leadership, the assets under management (AUM) continued to grow at an exponential rate, reaching a high of $9 billion. Most recently, he was vp/director of Merrill Lynch Japan Securities, Co. Ltd.

Founded in 1986, VIZ (www.viz.com) is a multi-media entertainment company specializing in Japanese entertainment properties for U.S. audiences. VIZ offers an integrated product line including magazines, graphic novels, videos, DVDs and audio soundtracks. VIZ releases more than 20 titles every month, including graphic novels for DRAGON BALL Z, FUSHIGI YÛGI, GUNDAM, HAMTARO, INUYASHA, RANMA 1/2 and YU-GI-OH!; and home video for BOYS OVER FLOWERS, HAMTARO, INUYASHA, POKéMON, PROJECT ARMS and ZOIDS. Based in San Francisco, VIZ is one of the top five comics publishers in the U.S. and a subsidiary of Shogakukan and Shueisha Inc., two of the top publishers in Japan.

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