TOKYO, Dec. 13 (Kyodo) — Electronics giant Panasonic announced Thursday that it will not renew its sponsorship contract with golfer Ryo Ishikawa when the deal expires next January.
The company also said 2013 will be the last year of its sponsorship of the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open.
Panasonic has been supporting Ishikawa since January 2008 as "a young player who is challenging the world."
With the contract now on the verge of expiration, the company said, "There is no mistaking he has forged his status as Japan's top player and we have fully realized the goal we set out to achieve."
At the end of the first year of the Panasonic deal, Ishikawa had soared from 434th in the world at the start of 2008 to 60th. The 21-year-old is currently 77th and ended a two-year win drought in November.
Panasonic is projecting a consolidated net loss of 765 billion yen for the year ending March 2013. It will be the second straight year of massive losses for the company that has disbanded its women's badminton team and men's basketball squad.