Fujitsu Ltd. said Wednesday that Kuniaki Nozoe’s resignation as president last September was “legally appropriate” and denied allegations that he was coerced to step down under false pretenses.
But Fujitsu Chairman Michiyoshi Mazuka offered an apology to shareholders and investors over flip-flops in its initial explanation of Nozoe’s sudden departure that drew a strict verbal warning from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
“It is not true that he was taken into a windowless room and pressured to resign without the approval of the board of directors,” Mazuka told reporters in Tokyo.
Fujitsu held its first news conference detailing the reasons and process leading up to Nozoe’s resignation since media reports surfaced in early March over the issue.
The exit of a top executive of Japan’s leading computer services firm has led to a legal dispute in a rare public display of internal strife that has drawn intense attention from the media and investors.
Fujitsu initially explained that Nozoe stepped down due to illness, but it later corrected its statement to investors and cited the former president’s suspected ties to a company with “an unfavorable reputation.”
During the news conference, Mazuka disclosed that Naoyuki Akikusa, the company’s senior executive adviser, warned Nozoe about his relations with an investment fund allegedly linked with “antisocial forces,” a euphemism often used for organized crime.
Fujitsu had until now addressed the issue of Nozoe only through written statements, but pressure had been rising for the company to explain the discrepancies in its earlier claims.
Last week, Nozoe said he plans to file a ¥5 billion damages suit against two of the firm’s executives over his resignation, which he alleged caused Fujitsu to suffer losses by preventing the sale of a subsidiary.
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