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Top managers at several major firms apologized to shareholders Thursday over a variety of corporate scandals, including the arrests of former board members.

Some 243 firms, or 14.1 percent of companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, convened shareholders’ meetings during the course of the day.

The managers in question represented firms such as Tokyo Electric Power Co., Nagoya Railroad Co., Daiwa Securities Group Inc., Nikko Cordial Corp. and Duskin Co.

These firms held their meetings one day before the peak day for shareholders’ general meetings at TSE-listed companies.

During a meeting of shareholders at Tepco, which was the focus of a public outcry last year when it was exposed for covering up defects at its nuclear reactors, President Tsunehisa Katsumata said, “We will bolster the transparency of our operations and put priority on securing the safety” of our nuclear plants.

Earlier this month, Tepco reactivated the second of 17 nuclear reactors shut down following revelations last August that it had falsified safety reports.

In the wake of these revelations, Tepco shut down all of its reactors — seven in Niigata Prefecture and 10 in Fukushima Prefecture — to conduct safety checks and try to win back the public’s trust.

During a meeting of shareholders at Nagoya Railroad, where four employees were arrested over a coverup related to a traffic mishap, President Misao Kimura said, “It is extremely regrettable that my company caused the scandal.

“We will make sure that our employees will live up to laws and regulations.”

At Daiwa Securities, whose subsidiary engaged in illicit trading and thereby violated the Securities and Exchange Law, President Yoshinari Hara said, “I deeply apologize for the serious annoyances caused by my company.”

At Nikko Cordial, whose subsidiary violated the same law, President Masashi Kaneko said, “I offer my sincere apology and we have taken the punitive measures (imposed by the Financial Services Agency) seriously.”

Yoshikiyo Fujii, president of Nippon Meat Packers Inc., whose subsidiary passed off imported beef as domestic in order to obtain state subsidies under a buyback program introduced after the discovery of mad cow disease, told shareholders, “The incident was a scandal that offended the rules of our society.

“We have caused annoyances to you shareholders.”

At a shareholders’ meeting held by cleaning equipment renter Duskin Co., President Hideyuki Ito said, “We offer a profound apology, as we have caused serious annoyances and worries due to the arrest of former Chairman (Koji) Chiba and others.”

Duskin’s former chairman and former senior managing director were indicted Tuesday on a charge of misappropriating about 180 million yen of the firm’s money.

Meanwhile, Isao Kaneko, president of Japan Airlines System Corp., said, “We will press ahead with the integration of the operations (of the Japan Airlines and Japan Air System divisions in the group) . . . although our business environments have been extremely severe on both the international and domestic route fronts.”

In this regard, he was referring to the double whammy of the Iraq war and the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Takeshi Sugihara, president of UFJ Holdings Inc., said, “We offer a deep apology for failing to live up to shareholders’ expectations.”

The firm booked a 608.9 billion yen group net loss in the March 31 book-closing and will skip a common share dividend payment for fiscal 2002.

Sugihara pledged to revive the holding company’s profitability and resume dividend payments next March 31.

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