Takemune Kimura, president of Mitsubishi Motors Corp., said Thursday that
he and Chairman Hirokazu Nakamura will quit their posts to take the blame
for the recent arrest of four MMC executives suspected of illegally paying
off “sokaiya” corporate extortionists.
At a news conference, Kimura said it is necessary for management to take
responsibility for the havoc linked to the two sokaiya. “As someone who is
responsible for the firm’s management, I feel that I must take
responsibility,” Kimura said. “Although the matter must be approved by
the company’s board, I have made up my mind to resign.” Nakamura told
Kimura he would follow suit, the president said.
The company is scheduled to hold its board meeting Nov. 7 to approve
half-year financial results for the 1997 business year, but their
resignations will not be on the agenda at the board meeting, Kimura said.
He said the issue would be taken up at a board meeting after their
successors are found.
“At the latest, we feel that the new leadership must be selected by the
end of this year,” Kimura said. Much of the 9 million yen in payoffs was
allegedly made while Nakamura was president. He served the post between
June 1989 and June 1995.
MMC allegedly paid the money to buy silence from extortionists, who often
threaten to disclose embarrassing or compromising information at
shareholder meetings. Sokaiya payoffs constitute violations of the
At the news conference, MMC also announced it will establish an internal
inquiry committee to study ways to sever its sokaiya ties. By mid-November,
the firm will draw up a corporate code to set specific standards of
behavior, and will thoroughly check and abstain from any act of
contribution or financial patronage to sokaiya. This will include
subscriptions to any publications produced by corporate extortionists, a
method they commonly use to get money.