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Hirotake Yano, founder of Japanese discount store Daiso, dies at 80

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Hirotake Yano, the founder and former president of Japan's Daiso chain of discount stores, has died at the age of 80, his company said.

Yaho died of heart failure in Hiroshima on Feb. 12, Daiso announced in a statement Monday.

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A private funeral for friends and family has already been conducted, it said, adding that a gathering to commemorate Yaho will be organized in the near future.

"It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Founder and former President of Daiso Industries Company Limited, Mr. Hirotake Yano," it said.

Yaho graduated from Chuo University in 1967 and incorporated Daiso Sangyo in 1977.

A decade later, he developed it into a 100 yen store, which is similar to modern-day dollar stores, with the first store of the chain opening in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture, in 1991. Its first international store opened in Taiwan in 2001.

Since then, the company known for selling more than tens of thousands of inexpensive products, from snacks and toiletries to houseware and sporting equipment -- many for under a dollar -- has grown to 4,350 stores in Japan and 990 outside the Asian nation, according to its company profile.

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It employs nearly 24,000 temporary employees with a permanent staff of 677, it said.

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