A massive sea change is about to surge through Japan’s largest shipowner, Mitsui OSK Lines.

From 1 April, executives in MOL’s five main global business regions will have the authority to make many of their own decisions, without reference to Tokyo, and where they do need board approval, regional heads will be able to make their own cases for investment.

It is a complete refocusing of the company’s previously Japan-centred way of working, arguably the biggest change to the company in its almost 140-year history but one which its president and chief executive Takeshi Hashimoto believes could pay off.