Japanese media are reporting that Akio Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota's founder, is set to replace CEO Katsuaki Watanabe. Toyota denies the story, which follows Watanabe's announcement that the company faces its first operating loss this year. If Toyoda, 52, gets the job, he would be the first family member to lead the company in more than a decade. The shift would be freighted with significance, writes BusinessWeek's Ian Rowley, who notes that one Japanese newspaper invoked "taisei hoken" -- "a reference to the restoration of imperial rule in Japan in 1868."

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