The Dec. 2 Timeout feature, “Japan’s whistle-blower supreme speaks out,” misses several points. Former Olympus Corp. chief Michael Woodford is not quite the hero the article portrays. Woodford was brought in to help a company in trouble, and failed.

Like many other Japanese companies, Olympus got caught up in the zaitech boom of the late 1980s and was left holding badly devalued land assets following the collapse of the bubble. Like many other companies, it held on to those assets, waiting for the expected economic recovery and relying on the then sensible and legal tobashi technique of ignoring paper losses of assets.

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