UPDATE 1-Ajinomoto chairman Kunio Egashira, 70, dies

Wed Apr 9, 2008 12:55am EDT

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TOKYO, April 9 (Reuters) - Japanese food company Ajinomoto Co Inc (2802.T) said on Wednesday its chairman Kunio Egashira has died from pancreatic cancer. He was 70.

Egashira, who became president of Japan's top maker of food seasonings in June 1997, had pushed through an aggressive realignment of its business portfolio to focus on selected growth areas centred on amino acid technology.

He took over the helm after his predecessor stepped down to take managerial responsibility for a scandal in which two company officials were arrested and indicted on suspicion of making illegal payments to corporate racketeers.

Egashira, who died on Monday, had become chairman in June 2005. (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka)

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