When Japanese Corp Culture Goes Bad

A Sobering Report

Those interested in Japan should take a good look at this story by Reuters, titled Special Report: The masterminds of the Olympus coverup. I’ll paste two key paragraphs here due to cultural importance, because this really shows all the worst parts of Japan’s corporate culture, but should not be presumed to be fully indicative of normality. We don’t know that.

Woodford, a 51-year-old Briton and newly minted president of Olympus, requested a lunch meeting with Chairman Kikukawa and Vice President Mori in August to ask them about those allegations. The meeting was “good humored,” Woodford recalled in a recent interview, until he produced a copy of the Facta article, and “the mood changed markedly.”

Kikukawa told him he had decided Woodford should not be told about the allegations because Woodford was “too busy” dealing with other matters. “You’re the president,” Woodford says Kikukawa told him. “I told people not to tell you.”

The chairman decided the president simply wasn’t on a need-to-know basis. Not like his neck was on the line if the authorities found out, or anything. Just be the potted flower for all to see and none to suspect.

Yeah, that’s not suspicious, not at all… – J

J Sensei

About J Sensei

Blogger, writer, linguist, former Japanese> English translator, rusty in French, experienced in Japanese, fluent English native. Writing for Technorati.com and various blogs. Skype: jeremiah.bourque (messages always welcome). E-mail: [email protected]
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