The Japanese PM has waded into the murky Olympus scandal calling for a full enquiry into the affair threatening to put a serious dent into the camera giant’s reputation. Premier Yoshihiko Noda spoke of his major “worries” the scandal will have on the reputation of Japan as a place to do business, insisting the events of the past fortnight were not reflective of its society.
Click to enlarge
The controversy began earlier this month, when British born CEO was sacked after he questioned the ‘extraordinary’ $687 million payment to Olympus ‘obscure financial advisers following the $2bn acquisition of a European Gyrus Group in 2008.
“What worries me is that it will be a problem if people take the events at this one Japanese company and generalise from that to say Japan is a country that [does not follow] the rules of capitalism,” Premier Noda said in an interview with Financial Times.
“Japanese society is not that kind of society,” he insisted.
Over $1 billion has “disappeared” to mystery financial advisory companies and other investment funds in the past three years, Woodford believes. The dodgy dealings are also being linked to Japanese mafia and “antisocial forces.”
Another questionable payment occured where Olympus bought three small, unprofitable firms for $966 million,only to write down three-quarters of their value the following year.
The FBI, Scotland Yard’s Serious Fraud Squad and local authorities are all said to be investigating the corruption case that has rocked corporate Japan.
Woodford, who last week was described as a “man in hiding” was allegedly told to “go catch a bus to the airport” by Olympus top management following his sacking.
Olympus are denying the ciams, saying the British native Woodford failed to align himself with the Japanese business culture, although last week saw a second casualty to the affair – 47 year Olympus veteran and Chairman and President Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, who resigned citing investor and customer concerns in the two weeks since he sacked the CEO.
And it appears Japan’s corporations, which includes the likes of Sony, and JVC are also worried also the effect the much publicised scandal will have on its business reputation abroad, and comes at a time when Japanese technology giants are losing out to South Korea and Taiwanese rivals like Samsung, HTC and Acer.