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Nissan Diesel Motor Co. announced April 30 that President Masayuki Saito will step down and be replaced by Managing Director Hirofumi Nakazawa in late June.

Saito, 67, told a news conference in Tokyo that Nakazawa, 55, is the best choice because it will give top management a young person with an international background who can review the company’s heavy dependence on the Southeast Asian market.

Nakazawa has devoted his career to development of diesel engines and has close ties with automakers and research institutes worldwide. Executive Vice President Shuji Miyake will become the new chairman to support Nakazawa, the company said.

The appointments will be formalized at a board meeting after a general shareholders meeting scheduled for late June. The company also disclosed a plan to merge with its affiliated Nissan Diesel Motor Sales Co. as early as 2000.

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