Fujitsu Ltd. President Masami Yamamoto admitted Thursday that the company made a “mistake” in handling information about former President Kuniaki Nozoe’s abrupt resignation last September.
“We made a mistake in information control,” Yamamoto said in his first group interview with the media since his appointment earlier in April. “In hindsight, our judgment (to cite illness as the reason behind Nozoe’s resignation) was a bit problematic.”
But Yamamoto defended the move, saying the fact that Fujitsu asked Nozoe, who was judged unfit to be president, to resign is proof that its corporate governance is effective.
After initially attributing Nozoe’s resignation to poor health, the computer services firm later claimed he was sacked for ignoring a warning to sever ties with an investment fund suspected of having links to “antisocial forces,” a phrase often used to describe organized crime groups.
Earlier Thursday, Nozoe’s lawyers disclosed that the company had offered him around ¥270 million to serve as an adviser for 10 years, a move they claimed was intended to buy his silence about his sudden ouster.
Nozoe was appointed adviser after stepping down but was dismissed in March after asking to have his resignation nullified and to be reinstated as president.
Yamamoto said he was aware the company had received an open letter from Nozoe’s lawyers asking for answers to several questions concerning the process behind his resignation, but declined to comment further.
“This is an issue that needs to be resolved at an early point,” Yamamoto said. “I think the judgment on whether (the claims made by Fujitsu and Nozoe) are correct or not can be made only by a public institution such as a court.”
In a news conference last week, Fujitsu Chairman Michiyoshi Mazuka said the company will consider filing a lawsuit against Nozoe, who in turn plans to file a ¥5 billion damages suit against two of the company’s executives.
On the company’s business strategy, Yamamoto indicated that Fujitsu plans to keep its semiconductor business for now, adding that most of its impending structural reforms have been completed.
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