Eishiro Saito, 90, a former steel executive who helped ease tension between Japan and its trading partners in the 1980s, died Monday of heart failure at a Tokyo hospital.
A native of the northwestern city of Niigata, Saito joined the predecessor of Mitsubishi Material Corp. in 1935 after graduating from Tokyo Imperial University.
Saito represented Japanese business at 1989-1990 Japan-U.S. talks aimed at tackling problems seen at the root of the two countries' trade imbalance.
Saito became president of Nippon Steel in 1977, serving in the post until 1981, when he was named chairman. He retired as chairman in 1987. He also headed the organizing committee for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.