Olympus case a black mark for Japan

The recent dismissal of the British chief executive of Olympus has once again drawn the attention of European media to peculiarities in corporate governance in Japan. Accounting practices and lack of transparency have aroused particular concern.

It seems strange that Michael Woodford should have been so summarily dismissed from his post as chief executive to which after many years service in the company he was only appointed some months ago. If, as members of the board are reported to have alleged, his style of management was incompatible with traditional Japanese practices it is odd that he was ever appointed to the top post. His qualities as a manager including his forthright attitude must have been known to the board when he was appointed.

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