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The big boss at Nintendo will miss the company’s annual shareholder meeting this week following an invasive medical procedure.

Satoru Iwata, the company’s president and chief executive officer, went through surgery last week to remove a growth from his bile duct. This medical issue will cause him to miss the upcoming shareholders meeting for Nintendo this week. Iwata says that he has resumed some work activities, but he wrote in a note to investors that he will need more time to return to a regular work schedule. The CEO missed the major Electronic Entertainment Expo conference in Los Angeles earlier this month due to these complications.

In his note, the 54-year-old Iwata wrote that doctors found the growth as part of a routine physical examination.

“In general, it is said that a bile-duct growth can be difficult to treat, partly because of the difficulty of detecting it early,” Iwata wrote. “In my case, luckily, it was detected very early, and I had no symptoms. I was counseled that removal at an early stage would be the desirable medical option. Therefore I had surgery last week, and I came through it well, as predicted.”


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Iwata and Nintendo didn’t give a timetable for the executive’s full return, but he did express regret at missing the shareholders meeting. At past Nintendo investor gatherings, Iwata has answered questions from and spoken at length on a number of subjects. This would likely prove difficult in his present state.

“As the president of the company, I regret that I cannot attend the meeting,” Iwata wrote. “However, I understand that I have to prioritize my medical treatment and to recover as soon as possible so that I will again be able to do my best to help the company to grow. I hope that you understand.”

Nintendo’s shareholder event will happen at 10 a.m. Friday (6 p.m. Thursday Pacific time) in Kyoto.

While Iwata is the face of Nintendo’s business, the news that he is missing this week’s event doesn’t look like it is hurting the company’s share price. Nintendo is currently at around $15.19 in over-the-counter trading in the U.S.

Iwata is Nintendo’s fourth president. He took over the position from Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2002 after that man ran the publisher since 1949. Prior to taking over the president position, Iwata was best known for overseeing the Nintendo development partner HAL Laboratory, which produces the Kirby and EarthBound games. As president, he oversaw that massive success of the Wii console. Iwata is 54.

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