False alarm, folks. Toshio Suzuki, Studio Ghibli's co-founder and former president is not retiring as the studio's producer, after all. The original news report came from Japan's TBS Radio, where Suzuki spoke of an "honorable retirement." The news quickly spread worldwide that he was stepping down after the completion of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata's latest feature films. Cinema Today Japan is now reporting that it's all a misunderstanding; the radio hosts took a humorous statement too literally. His positional shift to "General Manager" is more of a side move, not a step down, and Suzuki-san won't be leaving the studio anytime soon.
That makes a bit more sense. He'll need more time to train the next generation of Ghibli producers and corporate staff, just as Miyazaki has nurtured the next generation of movie directors.
And in slightly related news...Hayao Miyazaki is still "retired" from directing feature films. But he is still involved in oversight and pre-production work on the studio's current projects, drawing his new samurai manga comic, and working 12-hour days.