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Yoshizo Ikeda, a former chairman of Mitsui & Co. and the first business executive to head NHK, died of pneumonia at a Tokyo hospital Monday afternoon, Mitsui said Friday. He was 90.

A funeral service for Ikeda has already been held, the major trading house said in a release.

Born in Hyogo Prefecture, Ikeda joined Mitsui in 1936 after graduating from the University of Tokyo. He served as president between 1973 and 1979.

He resigned as chairman in 1982 to take responsibility for the collapse of a huge petrochemical project in Iran in the wake of the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraqi war.

Ikeda joined NHK as its first chairman from the business world in 1988.

Although he was expected to improve management of the deficit-ridden public broadcaster, he was forced to step down nine months later as a result of repeated controversial remarks at the Communications Committee in the House of Representatives.

He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1981 for his contributions to trade between Britain and Japan.

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