Japan's Noda seeking clarification from Olympus over payments

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 30, 2011 6:53 PM
Japan's Noda seeking clarification from Olympus over payments

LONDON (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has called for clarification about a string of controversial payments made by Olympus, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Noda acknowledged it might be considered inappropriate for a prime minister to comment on a private company but told the FT that Olympus had indicated that it would set up a third-party committee to look into the payments.

"I want them to fully clarify the facts and act on them appropriately," he said.

Noda expressed his unease about the impact the scandal involving Olympus could have on Japan's reputation as a rules-based market company.

"What worries me is that it will be a problem if people take the events at this one Japanese company and generalize from that to say Japan is a country that the rules of capitalism."

The scandal surrounding the Olympus began when the company fired its British President and Chief Executive Michael Woodford on October 14, just two weeks after his appointment as CEO, saying he failed to understand the company's management style and Japanese culture.

Woodford in turn said he was sacked for questioning a $687 million advisory fee paid in relation to a $2.2 billion takeover in 2008, as well as other deals.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)