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Toshiba in turmoil

Toshiba's loss of star engineer tells tale of company's decline

Flash memory inventor jumped ship 24 years ago, pointing to Japan tech woes

Toshiba became the first company in the world to develop NAND flash memory, paving the way for smartphones decades later.

TOKYO -- At the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, among the photos of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and others who shaped the computing revolution is a less well-known Japanese engineer.

His name is Fujio Masuoka and he is described in a note beneath the photo as "Inventing memory, but feeling forgotten." The engineer's story is a stark warning for Japanese policymakers and companies struggling to maintain Japan's position as a major high-tech player.

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