Journal that exposed Olympus scandal axes English spin-off
November 7, 2013
Excerpt Facta was an English language publication set up after its Japanese parent, Facta, broke news of the £1.1 billion scandal three months before former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford blew the whistle and contacted the world’s media.
Woodford first learned of financial irregularities after being alerted to the contents of the Japanese article in July 2011.
But, as he did not speak Japanese, he had to turn to a businessman he knew to help him translate the story into English.
In the following weeks, Woodford wrote six letters to boardroom colleagues, warning them of the potential implications.
And on 14 October 2011, after a boardroom bust-up, the whistleblower was fired and fled Japan on the first plane out of Tokyo.
Olympus was found to have hidden massive investment losses by disguising them in the company’s accounts.
After his dismissal, Woodford blamed Japan’s corporate culture and much of the ‘self-censoring’ Japanese media for an apparent reluctance to follow-up Facta‘s story.
Former Olympus chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, along with former executive vice-president Hisashi Mori and Hideo Yamada, a former Olympus auditor, were given suspended jail sentences.
Excerpt Facta delivered selected articles in English, on subscription. However, its September issue was the last and its support desk shut down on 31 October.
A message posted on the Facta website reads: ‘Except Facta started on a trial basis after our scoop that revealed the Olympus scandal that symbolized the two lost decades, because foreign investors and media needed the most recent information published by the Japanese version of Facta magazine.’
It adds: ‘Over the past two years, it has become difficult for us to cover and fulfil our foreign subscribers’ needs in the current style of Excerpt Facta because their needs have diversified.’