crime

Suspended jail for ex-Olympus execs in Japan cover-up

60 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2013 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

60 Comments
Login to comment

suspended? What a joke. No wonder this country ranks up there on the corruption rankings.

24 ( +24 / -3 )

WHAT? sends resume to Olympus, TEPCO and AIJ

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Looks like the company is getting more punishment than the executives. The company did nothing wrong. It was the leadership.

11 ( +12 / -2 )

The prosecutors should appeal the sentence. In Japan, a sentence of more than three years in prison can not be suspended.

7 ( +8 / -2 )

No surprises here. What a corrupt country.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

This is so wrong.

12 ( +12 / -1 )

THIS IS NOT A MEDIEVAL JUSTICE SYSTEM....why you laugh!

19 ( +21 / -3 )

Welcome to Clowntown.

10 ( +11 / -2 )

Crime pays even when busted.

12 ( +12 / -1 )

One rule for "Japan Inc" and another rule for the rest of the plebs! They should get REAL jail time.

10 ( +10 / -1 )

Definitely jail time would be some justice here, but suspended sentences? A total joke! A real bad joke!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Sure the directors were the front line conspicuous corrupt lot but the biggest shareholders who were dumping and shorting the company stock before all this came out were the US investment banks. LOL.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

And Horie of Livedoor had to to his time...except for him, all companies involved in scandal received suspended sentences. No surprises, no deterrents, just plain old business.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

these guys get off scot free while horie got a few years. how is that justice? you gotta wonder if the judge was bribed or not. it just doesn't make sense. oh wait, i forgot i'm in japan.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Since the scandal broke, Olympus has announced a major corporate overhaul including a deal with Sony that saw the pair establish a medical equipment joint venture.

The business was launched after Sony said it would invest 50 billion yen in Olympus. While it is better known by the public for its cameras, Olympus controls about 70 percent of the global market for medical endoscopes.

Not an overhaul, more Japan corproate cronyism to avoid a proper overhaul. Not surprised that these old corproate insider geezers got off lightly.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why am I not surprised, makes a total mockery of the legal system. No deterrent, so much of the same will continue as normal. Corporate Japan must be laughing their socks off.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A court spokesman also confirmed that Olympus itself was fined 700 million yen ($6.9 million) for its role in the affair

Chanppu cheinji.

What about the execs from the company they paid off? Why is no-one following the money trail?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Vernie Jefferies

Looks like the company is getting more punishment than the executives. The company did nothing wrong. It was the leadership.

Just like the Japanese Government...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Yep! This is Japan! Yet, there recently was a homeless guy sentenced to one year in jail for stealing ten yen from a shrine. Double standards much? But, if they locked up all the corrupt business leaders and politicians there wold be nobody to run the country. But, then again, is anybody actually running this country?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Only in Japan!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

A 1.7 billion dollar fraud and only suspended sentences! I wonder how that was justified. The Tokyo District Court is about to become an embarrassment for Japan on an international scale once this news spreads around the globe.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC!!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I believe we could have seen the outcome before the trial began. The government weighs what they can make in fines and plays the suspended sentence card because the defendants don't have prior criminal records while the prosecutors go through a song and dance looking like they really were looking for a jail sentence.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yes, pathetic!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Olympus subsequently agreed to a reported 10.0 million pound ($15 million) payout to Woodford to settle a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

Oh, my.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

suspended? What a joke. No wonder this country ranks up there on the corruption rankings.

It doesn't. It comes behind obvious candidates like New Zealand and Finland, and about the same as countries that like to portray themselves as having very little corruption, like Britain, the United States, or France.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/files/2012/12/Screen-shot-2012-12-05-at-12.17.00-PM.png

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2011/dec/01/world-corruption-index-transparency-international-map

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Based on this decision, Japan looks like a great place to start a Ponzi scheme. Its shocking too see this kind of justice, it just sends the wrong message to Japanese managment and global investors. I would expect this sort of thing in some othe countries as the norm but it seems Japan has gone backward. How they can hold there faces up in the international business comunity in future is beyond me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@wipeout

It comes behind obvious candidates like New Zealand and Finland, and about the same as countries that like to portray themselves as having very little corruption, like Britain, the United States, or France.

Begone with your facts and your rational analysis! You're spoiling the Japan-bashers' fun....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Weak, Hori (livedoor) gets 5 years, old boys club gets off :(

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Who honestly expected these crooks to do hard time? Japan is nepotism heaven and must be one of the most corrupt societies known to (wo)man. It's tragic but not unexpected. Fine place, this.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

So let me get this global logic straight: Steal a little bit of money you go to jail. Steal a lot of money you go to jail. Steal enough money to cripple an industry/company, get a suspended sentence. I need to learn how to steal more money....

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It all boils down to how you cooperate with them police/ prosecuters ,if you share valuable information that helps your case there is so much that goes on in this world that we dont know about.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

lucabrasi,

@wipeout

It comes behind obvious candidates like New Zealand and Finland, and about the same as countries that like to portray themselves as having very little corruption, like Britain, the United States, or France.

Begone with your facts and your rational analysis! You're spoiling the Japan-bashers' fun....

You are right sir. Let us not "bash". Let us instead smile, and sing and dance to the tune of Happyland JPN where even obvious wrongdoings must be supported and encouraged. At all times. This is special-country, after all.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Kikukawa lied continuously, is not sorry for what he has done and transferred his assets to his wife to avoid having them confiscated. Despite that, he won't go to jail. Yet another example of the farcical "justice" system in Japan.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Just another shining example of blatant corruption by Japan Inc. I guess anyone in a seat of authority can get away with anything here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That corruption index is a pile of steaming BS. Firstly it's logically impossible to have a corruption index which anyone with any common sense would be able to see why immediately. Secondly, practically, having Spain and Portugal at 30 and 33 or so, countries which I have lived in and seen the corruption level first hand and below other countries I have lived in and can compare them to, is a terrible indication of it's accuracy. Everyone knows what goes on in Japan, it's just spoken about less and assumed more than in most western countries.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They handed each of them a pair of roller skates and pointed towards the sunset.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Setence seems increbily lenient for such a large fraud,covered up for many years, found and outted by a foreigner CEO, who wias in turn kicked out for having rhe gaul to speak the truth, It we interesting if some JT members can share reaction in the J-Press or Media.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This from the NY Times

Its outcome has also been seen as a test of how vigorously white-collar crime in Japan would be investigated and punished by the authorities, who have been accused of being soft, especially with large, well-connected corporations. Mr. Kikukawa, president at Olympus for a decade before Mr. Woodford took over, had pleaded guilty to the charges. But the defense argued that jail time would be too harsh for an executive who had already suffered social censure for his mistakes.

Tokyo prosecutors had asked for a five-year jail term for Mr. Kikukawa and a 1 billion-yet fine for Olympus, according to Kyodo News.

In the court decision Wednesday, Judge Hiroaki Saito said that the former executives had simply taken over a scheme started in the 1990s by their predecessors. He also pointed out that there was no evidence that Mr. Kikukawa and his colleagues had pocketed any money.

Mr. Kikukawa and Mr. Yamada ‘'inherited a negative legacy and weren’t involved in the decision-making process to hide losses,'’ Mr. Saito was quoted in local media reports as saying in court. ‘'They didn’t benefit personally from hiding losses.'’

Masatoshi Kishimoto and Toshiro Shimoyama, the former executives who are thought to have made the decision to hide the losses, were not charged because the statute of limitations had expired.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That corruption index is a pile of steaming BS.

Well, my friend, that it may be. But Spudman tells us that Japan is "up there on the corruption rankings". He omitted to mention which rankings he had in mind, so in the absence of any, I provided some. You or he are free to provide a better source. In the meantime, this is a ranking, and Japan is not actually "up there", it has one of the better scores, just about exactly as I described it: not the best, but on a par with France, the US, Britain, and other shining examples of rectitude.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

And this from the same article in the NY Times:

Olympus’s swift revival has raised eyebrows in Japan over the discrepancies — or, in some critics’ view, the political biases — in the way companies are punished in Japan.

Livedoor, an Internet start-up accused in 2005 of manipulating its earnings to appear to be more than $40 million, had its offices raided, its stock delisted and its top executives jailed. But the next year, Nikko Cordial, a prominent Japanese brokerage firm, was accused by financial regulators of padding its books by almost $350 million. Nikko was forced to pay a modest financial penalty. But there was no raid, no delisting and no jail time.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@waltery JUL. 03, 2013 - 08:41PM JST Based on this decision, Japan looks like a great place to start a Ponzi scheme

Sorry you're too late. We have one already, it's called the National Pension plan.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The Justice system in Japan is teaching kids it is okay to do wrongs. Sad and wrong.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yep, you can get away with all sorts of crimes in Japan if you're part of the system.

‘'They didn’t benefit personally from hiding losses.'’

Sure they did. They got their bonuses and salaries and all that. If the shareholders knew about the losses then change might have happened. But, maybe not.

Either way these guys are getting off with a pat on the head and a wagging finger to be good boys from now on. Typical.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

But the defense argued that jail time would be too harsh for an executive who had already suffered social censure for his mistakes.

That has to be some kind of cultural difference. Don't think that would go down too well as a defense in many other countries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Our Judicial system is the one of the worst!!! Sometimes, they makes me wonder do they at least try to implement the laws and some common sense or arrogant judges without wisdom and courage think that as if they were the law??? I am proud of our cultural value that still we have some but not our politics and judiciary. Especially, our judiciary which is really insane!!! I am angry. Japan supposed be a democratic country, I must see our judiciary functions to protect it. So many cases I know that manifests their lack of understanding of their mission and their cowardliness.I do not want Japan to be taken over by these morons. Shame on you!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It is good to be well connected.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's just sad how far from those traditional romantic notions of honour, courage, integrity and unity for the country this all is.

The saddest part is how there is very very little public outrage.

Please don't defend actions like this, or be cynical about it. It doesn't matter where Japan is on the corruption table - which would be nect to useless in its accuracy anyway. What matters is this is wrong at a human level, and there should be outrage!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So they got their bonuses, retired and Olympus had to pay for their deeds? Didn't see anything saying at least they have to be materially responsible! Confiscation of property, etc. - there will be no end to this type of crime if white collars are sure will get few years prison or suspended term...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

WEAK JAPAN! WEAK!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Laughable - the "justice " system in this country when it comes to old boys network connected , white crime perpetrators is non - existent. Enjoy your retirement with impunity, viva la golden parachutes... Japan sure shouldnt expect the world to take its justice system seriously.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Holy frack! Just how much does one have to steal/de-fraud to have a shot at jail time for white collar crime, perhaps in the trillions of yen might do it!!!

INSANE!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

wipeout

Don't worry I'm not blaming you, but you must see the blatant problem in having a ranking of something that is by its very nature hidden and won't be admitted to as the writers of the survey themselves state.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The only way this way going to end differently would have been if Western governments had gone for the jugular and outlawed any and all dealings with Canon until a thorough cleaning out of those Augean stables. Japan Inc. would`ve sh** its collective pants at the realisation that the rest of the world has decided to henceforth take a very dim view of business as usual whitewashing and for the sin of "losing the confidence of the world", as the postwar imperial rescript put it, some of those guys would now be up in Abashiri.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cool, I'll start embezzling from my company. There are apparently no reasons not to,

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

PPayne

And give me the spoils that way you wont do time as you didn't "benefit"...............

Damn this would be hilarious if it wasn't so damned serious!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This reminds me of a scene out of the movie Mississippi Burning.

Judge: So the court understands without condoning them, mind you that the crimes to which you men have pled guilty were, to some extent at least, provoked by these outside influences. So, with all this, I'm gonna make your punishment light. I'm gonna sentence you each to five years' imprisonment. But I'm gonna suspend these sentences.

By the way, they're doing the same thing in Russia these days. Russia's State Duma has approved a law giving amnesty to first time offenders jailed for financial crimes.

Altogether around 3,000 people could be set free from offenses of money laundering, tax and loan evasion, loan and business fraud, copyright law infringement, illegal entrepreneurship, and other 'minor' offenses under 27 different articles of the Criminal Code, Ria Novosti quotes Garri Minkh.

There seems to be a general trend toward leniency when it comes to financial crimes. This is happening in the US as well. Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling recently had his 24 year sentence reduced by 10 years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, in Japan you risk more "stealing a melon" than being a financial criminal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"justice" is for the poor.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, in Japan you risk more "stealing a melon" than being a financial criminal.

Which does explain why you have more financial fraud in Japan than people stealing melon, sadly, financial crimes (unless exposed by western like this case) do never make news, good luck to find one in the crime section.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites