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Ex-Japanese Steel Industry Exec Dies

April 24, 2002

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TOKYO (AP) _ Eishiro Saito, a former steel industry executive who helped ease tension between Japan and its trading partners in the 1980s, has died of heart failure. He was 90.

Saito, who also served as chairman of Japan’s organizing committee for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games, died at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo on Monday, spokesman Minoru Ishiyama said.

A native of the northwestern city of Niigata, Saito joined the predecessor of Mitsubishi Material Corp. in 1935 after graduating from the elite Tokyo Imperial University, now the University of Tokyo.

While serving as chairman of Keidanren from 1986 to 1990, Saito promoted corporate-level talks and other economic exchanges with the country’s main trading partners to help settle disputes caused by the sharp rise in Japanese exports.

Saito also represented Japanese business at the 1989-1990 Japan-U.S. Structural Impediments Initiative discussions aimed at tackling problems seen at the root of the two countries’ long-standing trade imbalance.

Saito became president of Nippon Steel in 1977, serving at the post until 1981, when he was named chairman. After he retired as chairman in 1987, he was appointed honorary chairman.

In 1990, the Japanese government conferred the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun in 1990 _ one of the country’s highest honors _ on Saito for his business contributions.

Saito is survived by his son and daughter.

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