Last year, Iwata skipped E3 due to health reasons. This year, he will be absent again because his physician has advised him not to travel.
Also, Nintendo stated that Iwata will be in constant contact.
It’s sad that Iwata will be absent again, but thanks to the Direct-style event, we’ll see him for sure!
Nintendo has stated the following:
Nintendo’s focus for E3 this year will be showcasing the many games we have coming for both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Mr. Miyamoto and other members of our development team will be in Los Angeles to explain these games and the unique experiences that each offers. Mr. Iwata’s focus in this period will be on other areas of our business that require his presence in Japan.