business

Ghosn case raises issues beyond one man, one company

40 Comments
By Linda Sieg

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Pay people what they are worth, pay people what they require. Governance is Japan has always been an issue that needs to be rebooted. Seems nothing was learnt from Olympus.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Ghosn's reported pay in the latest financial year of $16.9 million...underincentivised

Oh, please, underincentivse me. I couldn't figure out what to do with a million dollars, much less 17, coming in annually.

>

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Sky-high executive pay is a touchy topic in Japan, where conspicuous consumption is frowned upon and wealth gaps are contentious. 

PLEASE, give me a break. You drank the kool-aid along with others and you all actually believe this to be true when it's not. You want to believe the image of this as being true, but it's a lie. Being repeated constantly.

Things may not be as bad as other countries, but for here, "conspicuous consumption" happens everyday

10 ( +10 / -0 )

If all CEOs in Japan are like Ghosn, Japan will be no more, as simple as that.

-21 ( +1 / -22 )

Japan is in a sense a very democratic country. Gaps between super rich and poor are not very big. Japanese people hate "winners take it all." Greedy people cannot become leaders in this country. Japan's company executives cannot invite foreign company executives to their houses because they live in small houses. They are always expected to contribute to the whole not just filling their pockets. We are living in a Confucian society. He teaches virtues to the leaders of the society.

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

If all CEOs in Japan are like Ghosn, Japan will be no more, as simple as that.

Really? A man who had the business acumen to take a bankrupt company and bring it back to world-wide relevance in a dog eat dog industry, and you think HE's bad?

Japan INC is damn near in the toilet on so many levels that it probably needs MORE like Ghosen than not.

Petty xenophobia and nationalism, along with a misguided belief that the old ways are the ways of the future are killing Japan.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Having worked for a Japanese electronics manufacturer for 28 years in Japan I can absolutely state this case is all about jealously. Compared to westerners, Japanese could win all the medals at a Jealousy Olympics. As I stated before (to a previous news article) Ghosn's compensation package is on par to any highly successful sports team coach.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

You mean as in like SUCCESSFUL?!?!!?

So you would prefer management that run companies into the ground instead...………

Although I think most Japanese would in fact actually prefer that & than shake their heads in wonder at the results

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Yubaru, if you believe that Nissan's success is linked to one man, then you are wrong. In fact no one believes that. As big as Nissan is, an institution has its own mechanism to survive. Financial difficulty can't be use to characterize good or bad of a company, let along temperate one. In the end, it is the spirit and the skills of the people of Nissan who make it successful, including the one man who is jailed now.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

"Exemplary persons (君子) cherish their excellence; petty persons cherish their land. Exemplary persons cherish fairness; petty persons cherish the thought of gain."

-Confucius

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

If anything, the Ghosn case has put the spotlight on Japan's corporate governance and prosecution and thus debunked the fairytale, that Japan has less corruption than other countries in Asia and a justice system congruent with the values of a developped nation.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Yubaru, if you believe that Nissan's success is linked to one man, then you are wrong. In fact no one believes that. As big as Nissan is, an institution has its own mechanism to survive. Financial difficulty can't be use to characterize good or bad of a company, let along temperate one. In the end, it is the spirit and the skills of the people of Nissan who make it successful, including the one man who is jailed now.

Let me put it this way, if it wasn't for Ghosen where would Nissan be? Of course it's not just one man, but that one man changed the entire company and the way it did business.

If you think that it was only thanks to the people of Nissan that it made a come back you then have to lay the blame for the current mess at the feet of all those that work there with him.

You are willing to let him take the fall for the company, but you say the company and it's people brought it back, you can not have it both ways.

If Ghosen is to blame, then Nissan is even MORE so

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I am generally against such ridiculously high compensation packages for executives. In this case, Ghosn's compensation is not so high when compared internationally. Whatever you think of Ghosn, he did turn around a failing company. As I have stated before this case is not about Ghosn. It is about the control of Nissan. Regardless of the outcome this has cast another long shadow over the Japanese business world.

And from the article (below) has the author ever been to Tokyo?

Sky-high executive pay is a touchy topic in Japan, where conspicuous consumption is frowned upon and wealth gaps are contentious.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

If anything, the Ghosn case has put the spotlight on Japan's corporate governance and prosecution and thus debunked the fairytale, that Japan has less corruption than other countries in Asia and a justice system congruent with the values of a developped nation.

Exactly. This scandal has so many more levels for japan than meets the eye:

The broken 3rd world detainment and justice condition and system

The lax and broken corporate governance

The coup d'etat that highlights the extent the government is in bed with corporate japan

The allegations of racism and the idea that foreigners that over succeed will be taken down fast.

The belief that Japan plays by different rules and will not allow mergers and acquisitions of its companies by foreign entities.
16 ( +16 / -0 )

Japan definitely needs to raise executive pay.

Japan is only country where the hostesses and hosts of Ginza and Kabukichou far outearns all the common executives of MNCs.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Nissan is one of many companies in Japan. I do not agree Japan Inc. fall if we do not have another Ghosn. Fortunately, individualism is not as strong in Japan as foreign countries. Japan can remain strong so long as people have a spirit of carrying "mikoshi" by all. It is our strength.

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

"Japan can remain strong so long as people have a spirit of carrying "mikoshi" by all. It is our strength."

Yeah all those Japanese electronic companies and tech companies from Toshiba to Sharp failing show how great "mikoshi" is. The Japanese auto firms have failed in Europe. This "mikoshi" worked in the 19th and 20th centuries it tumbled Japan from #2 to #3, and by 2021 Japan is set to fall to #7.

This "samurai spirit" bs is what is imploding Japan while failing to fix problems. Keep the "mikoshi" and instead solve the problems. Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and China are eating Japan's lunch AND dinner. Wake up and do it soon.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

kyushubill, ethnically speaking, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan , Japan and China are one nation, one people, one culture, and one blood. There is no such a thing as eating Japan's lunch AND dinner. If we are truly united, the world will feel the quake.

-15 ( +0 / -15 )

Greedy people cannot become leaders in this country. Japan's company executives cannot invite foreign company executives to their houses because they live in small houses. They are always expected to contribute to the whole not just filling their pockets. We are living in a Confucian society. He teaches virtues to the leaders of the society.

Oh please..cmon....this is not some romantic novel version of Japan we are living in. There are just as many greedy J inc executives here as anywhere , Ok they might not flash their cash by driving around in Ferraris ..but their and their family members bank accounts are sure not not crying .

And as much as we all admire Confusionist values the recent behavior by J Inc execs and political blue wigs is anything but.. Takata, Kobe steel, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Nissan , Tepco, Olympus.... no need to go on. What kind of Confucius values do they display?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Nissan said it will correct past financial reports.

that's that fixed then. Mr. Ghosn should be afforded the same opportunity.....

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Really? A man who had the business acumen to take a bankrupt company and bring it back to world-wide relevance in a dog eat dog industry, and you think HE's bad?

Something that I've always felt the Japanese just do not get; that being more conservative and austere, do not equal economic gain.

For a quick example, look to shopping malls. People want generosity, the want updated and clean amenities, with quality toilet paper. Is it no wonder that the run-down Apita down the road, that hasn't seen a lick of paint in 20 years, is losing the battle to the bigger, shinier new shopping center?

Investment often equals return. And it seems to me that Ghosn came in and splashed a lot more cash around than any Japanese CEO would have done. Sure, he also laid people off, but that could have been the remedy to the Japanese trait of not being able to cut out dead wood, or adapt with the times.

At any rate, he made the company profitable again through hard times, so...

The ubiquitous, Japanese, hyper-conservative approach to everything is often damaging but the Japanese just cannot see it.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Since when US CEOs stipends are the term of comparison for the rest of the world? Every country and company should be free to stipulate the payments at their convenience, according to proportions, merit and their situations. Said that, I frankly thing that the amount of money he is reported to have received for his duties is obscene and indecent from a human point of view... No worker at any level - were it not the owner of the company or property - should be allowed to receive that much. A multitude od people could live their whole life out of that, while he did not do anything so drastically relevant or innovative than others couldn't have done (being foreigner he simply took a different approach to what Japanese are used to).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sigh, the reporting on this story is getting weirder by the day...

I think if you manage 3 massive companies out of their bankruptcy and the fourth strongest brands, your entitled to his package, he earned it and was awarded to him on his contract from the beginning.

This fallacy reporting is pushing away the truth that he's innocent. So they'll come up with silly new headings and 'scenarios' each time

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I think his pay is too high also, but it's a separate issue from what he has been detained for. A separate discussion.

If they have solid evidence of wrong-doing, act on it! If not, the issue of being unfairly and inhumanely detained, on the whim of some senior Japanese businessmen, should be of far higher importance to both foreigners in Japan and Japanese alike. He deserves his chance to defend himself, like anyone else.

Putting the spotlight on his bloated salary is clearly just a ploy to distract from the other issues.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japan is in a sense a very democratic country. Gaps between super rich and poor are not very big.

Oh puleeez, gimme a break! I'm laughing at both sentences.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Japan is in a sense a very democratic country. Gaps between super rich and poor are not very big.

Oh puleeez, gimme a break! I'm laughing at both sentences.

Where one CEO may not traditionally pay himself a huge stipend like we see in other countries (at least on paper...), the whole family will get a very large salary while they also game the tax system. For not only one term, but inter-generational. People are born into money in Japan and the class separation is just a little more hidden, but the average Taro is too busy pulling 16 hour days to notice anyway...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

including the one man who is jailed now.

the one man who is jailed without a trial , proof of guilt or sentenced by a court, yep hostage justice and mental conformity pretty much sums up Japan

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Gaps between super rich and poor are not very big. 

It this a joke? 50% of single moms in this country below the poverty line. One in six kids lives below the poverty line. You tell them that there isn't a big gap between their lives and Abe and his wife's.

This whole case is making Japan Inc look xenophobic and incompetent. Nothing new to any of us who have been here for a while.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Take a walk around the old small business areas of Tokyo. Where workers are paid close to minimum wage with unpaid overtime and few holidays thrown in. Where these small local businesses are often run into the ground by family owners. Then count how many Mercedes Benz and Lexus cars are parked in the owners parking spaces. If Ghosn is guilty of over compensation and hidden compensation, then so are these local business owners. And on a much more damaging scale in turnover proportion than Nissan.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

TigersTokyoDomeToday 12:59 pm JST

Actually, that's a good point. While on a smaller scale than Ghosn ALLEGED crime... anyone who has lived in Japan for a while will have overheard, or been given advice on how and when to move money around to avoid the labyrinth of taxes imposed on them by various governments. It's commonplace.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It is not my intention to write badly about Ghosn. I think he should be freed immediately and send him back to France politely Nissan paying him the money that is agreed upon after his retirement. It is not the Japanese way to treat a person badly who once saved Nissan from bankruptcy. The Japanese government must move to do that. I am dare writing opposite views here finding a fun since all are writing badly about Japan. Having said that, I think Japanese prosecutors should not have been involved in this case. There are many opinions I agree. But at the same time, I have a little doubt whether I can live a better life in your country or not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

a report by Nicholas Smith, Japan strategist at CLSA. "In many cases, investors probably ought to worry more that executives are being paid too little and so are being underincentivised."

Masters of the Universe need incentives. Everyone else gets the stick.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Agent - exactly. If the whole point about the Ghosn case is a lesson in morals about hiding compensation, then they are hypocrites turning a blind eye to thousands of examples by Japanese business owners. I walk through my neighborhood and clearly these small businesses are not making money and the local workers paid poorly (I know it for a fact). Yet a large number of these businesses have very expensive cars parked, the kind of cars you would only see in swish areas of Central London (I also know for a fact that these small company presidents live a lavish lifestyle while everyone else suffers from unpaid overtime and no holidays).

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I find it difficult this is the author's takeaway from this situation, when the greater issue is not compensation or governance, but human rights and the treatment of incarcerated persons at the hands of the Japanese DoJ.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Governance is a farce, after months of secret investigation by Nissan, prosecutors felt it a good idea to detain two men while they gather evidence? Didn't they have evidence handed to them by Nissan? But this is a cover story. Nissan have with Prosecutors and obviously government officials tried to reclaim a company now on its feet. They just ignored the fact that getting a confession from an innocent foreigner is not so easy. Nor the global press attention it's getting. The spot light is on Nissans own system of governance, the legal system, and before too long the government involvement. Not a well thought out plan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ Schopenhauer

 I am dare writing opposite views here finding a fun since all are writing badly about Japan.

Good post, but no, we are not having fun. Most long term foreign residents are tired of listening to Japan's aspirations and wonderful propaganda (tatemae) and therefore react with cold showers of reality. The always repeated pretence is tiring and is a reason for sometimes harsh reaction. And no, we don't hate the country we chose to live in. But to like Japan doesn't mean I have to love the hogwash.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Yep. Like I said from the start (whether Ghosn is innocent or guilty), I suspect he is going to rip strips off someone when he gets the chance. Probably starting with Nissan execs, prosecutors and maybe even the Dept. of Injustice itself, purely because of the barbaric way they all went about it.

A poorly thought out plan by people with little experience outside their own sandbox. They must all be packing bricks!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If the whole point about the Ghosn case is a lesson in morals about hiding compensation, then they are hypocrites turning a blind eye to thousands of examples by Japanese business owners.

Indeed. And then there's the thing about Carlos appointing his sister to a position with no clearly defined role or service rendered. Yet numerous Japanese companies appoint ex CEOs as "corporate consultants" or "special advisors" without clarifying what they do or on what basis they are compensated.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@blaaah

i disagree. Executives should be paid accordingly. The gap between non execs shouldnt be wide. It’s the foot soldiers that does most of the work, not them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan's very bad business style long time ago style called Governance. This system is used to the advantage of the kansayaku, the accountants and bad advisors. These people use Governance to their advantage and only Japanese in Japan can do this kind of actions. I have been in Japanese for 31 years and 9 months, I know that bad people use this system to their advantage against foreigners even in single owners companies. Thanks to god , that Carlos do not write or read the Japanese language...............if he does, there will be no way to save him. Now Nissan can go on delaying but the world cannot. Human rights group will move in very soon. I & all good sincere Japanese will support Carlos. Nissan & japan Inc better stop their bad actions before the world see their dirt more clearly. At least, Nissan had not said that as U do not write or write Japanese, Carlos ,U have to go. We need only Japanese in yr seat....................Then, lets see , what all good Japanese people will say ???.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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