The scandal became public two weeks ago, when former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford was fired for criticising the chairman over fraudulent accounting practices. Tsuyoshi Kikukawa resigned as chairman while staying on the board, adding further controversy.To quell rumours, Olympus should have issued an honest statement about the mysterious payments that were made in 2008.
Instead the company left the door open for speculation and uncertainty.
At a press conference the company’s new CEO Shuichi Takayama was asked whether the payments were connected to the Yakuza, according to the Economist. Takayama defended the company’s payments but would give no further details until Olympus started and concluded a third-party investigation.
Consequently the company’s stock price has plunged by over 50% in two weeks.
This inability to move quickly could be read as a failing of Japanese corporate culture along the lines of the Toyota crisis.
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