Universal Music Japan has appointed Masahiro Kazumoto as managing director of Universal J, effective Jan. 1, 2009.

Universal J is the largest and oldest Japanese domestic music label in Universal Music Japan and Kazumoto is rising from senior manager of A&R to head of the label.

As the label's A&R Manager, Kazumoto steered the pop duo Mihimaru GT to strong sales in Japan and throughout Asia.

In a statement, Universal Music Japan president/COO Kaz Koike said of Kazumoto's appointment: "With his abundant experience and achievements as a talented A&R manager, we will undergo a rejuvenation of the label and strengthen the A&R function to create good music which is widely loved throughout the nation."

Universal Music Japan also laid out its 2009 strategy for Universal J under Kazumoto. The three key initiatives are to be: establish a 'cross functional team' with elite and professional staff across the key departments like A&R, publicity, product management and sales promotion in order to break as many new acts as possible; introduce new creative ideas, apply new promotional strategies and acquire contracts with new artists proactively; and sell digital-only tracks to boost sales in the growing digital market.

Atsushi Kitamura, the outgoing manager director of Universal J, is leaving Universal Music Japan.