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Japan's scandal-hit companies apologise to shareholders

Publication Date : 29-06-2012

 

Executives of companies whose former management officials caused problems or scandals, including Daio Paper Corp. and Olympus Corp., apologised and met with criticism at their respective shareholders meetings Thursday.

Many companies with business years ending in March held their annual shareholders meetings on the day.

Daio Paper's general shareholders meeting at its regional head office in Shikoku-Chuo, Ehime Prefecture, was its first since the arrest of its former chairman on suspicion of aggravated breach of trust in November last year.

President Masayoshi Sako opened the meeting with an apology, saying, "I'm very sorry for causing trouble to shareholders," after which the company's executives bowed before about 200 shareholders.

Many shareholders in attendance criticised the company, among them a 45-year-old from Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, who works in the service industry.

"The amount of money the former chairman spent is beyond an understandable level for an ordinary citizen. It's very regrettable," the shareholder said.

Olympus, whose three former management officials were arrested in February on suspicion of window-dressing settlement accounts, held its shareholders meeting at a Tokyo hotel.

President Hiroyuki Sasa brought up the incident while explaining the company's vision for midterm business reconstruction.

"We'll implement drastic reforms to regain the public's trust. It's important to return to the starting point of this company's establishment," he told shareholders.

To prevent similar problems from recurring, Sasa noted that the president's term will be limited to six years, and that a majority of the board of directors will be appointed from outside the company.

However, during a question-and-answer period, many shareholders criticised the plan.

"The business reconstruction plan is hard to understand," one shareholder said. "The amount of compensation demanded from the former management is too small," another said.

At a meeting of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., President Koichi Miyata apologised over the arrest of a former operating officer of its affiliate, SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., suspected of insider trading.

Regarding the executive's arrest, Miyata said, "I apologise for causing so much trouble."

A company employee in his 40s who attended the meeting said, "The company should educate its employees more thoroughly."

 

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