• Staff report


Toy maker Takara Co. announced Thursday that its president, Keita Sato, will step down to take responsibility for the 10.5 billion yen net loss expected for the current fiscal year to March.

Sato, 47, will be replaced by Nobuyuki Okude, currently president of Atlus Co., a Takara subsidiary.

The change will take place April 1, and Sato will become a chairman without representative rights.

During a news conference Thursday, Sato acknowledged there had been pressure from Takara’s largest shareholder, Konami Corp., that he relinquish the top post over the firm’s dismal performance. The video-game maker has a 22 percent stake in Takara.

Sato, the founder’s youngest son, became president in 2000 and under him, the company produced a slew of hit products, including Beyblade and Bowlingual.

But toy maker has had few such hits recently and kids were lured away by new portable video games by Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co. during the critical yearend season.

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