Olympus & TeamJapan (as Explained By S. Suzuki)

I’ve written a lot about Olympus Corporation. I unconciously mentioned their zaitech first in “We Are All Zaitech Now” – a post primarily about Repo-105, back in October 2010 – that almost a year before FACTA!

Long-Term Memory was my first discussion of the FATCA revelation which set the ball rolling. It correctly connected the dots suggesting Gyrus et. al. was an attempt at zaitech cleanup, NOT fraud.

Throwing Good Money After Bad” further expanded upon my belief that bizarre advisory fees were an attempt to finally dispose of losses – a discussion  that  was a full three weeks before Olympus’ ex-President Woodford even suspected it was  zaitech related. The clean-up attempt paradoxically was the opposite of fraud in the sense it is trying to reverse the fraud and ineptitude committed years in the past. Unfortunately (and amusingly), the  attempts were themselves fraudulent, and even more inept than the original sins.

Kikukawa Quits – Olympus Soars…But Why? still two weeks before Woodford himself knew, laid out in detail why I was virtually certain it was a cover-up of a cover-up. In Capitulation, marking Olympus’ “come-clean day”, I suggested that confirmation of the obvious removes the risk and uncertainty. Despite that, SWFs and other non-Japanese investors liquidated on baseless fears of criminal prosecution delisting or further bad revelations.

Monkey On Your Back further explained why Olympus was cheap and why the market was wrong at YEN700. End Run makes analogies to the excellent WSJ schematic of the Company’s two decades of zaitech cover-up. Finally, The Cats In The Hat Won’t Be Coming Back was my post-mortem on the near-anniversary  – one that took the form of a somewhat unflattering review of former Olympus President’s Woodford’s book “Exposure”. In it, I suggest while fraudulent, and dumb it differs from Enron-like malfeasance, and that there is no words or phrase in the english language to describe the lack of personal profit and different intention of what Olympus management did over the years.

Through the affair, this “je ne sais quoi” of intention that we see as willfull shareholder neglect is a recurrent theme which Mr Woodford, activists, and foreign investors would have, and should have been more aware. It explains  the behaviour of what in a 2008 post I called TeamJapan, (i.e. Olympus Senior Management, their Board of Directors, their bankers, and Olympus’ large corporate shareholders, service providers, as well as regulators). I wrote the post to explain why TCI’s run at 9513 (Elec Power Development) was assinine and stupid (from the point of view of TCI’s Investors’). It goes to the heart of the behavioural response of almost all Japanese actors and is reprinted for you below….


Christopher Hohn and his TCI are obviously NOT Suzuki parents, for if they were, they would have better understood what they up against in terms of TeamJapan.

Shinichi Suzuki’s Nurtured by Love, The Classic Approach to Talent Education is an illuminating account of his philosophy regarding life, music, and learning. For those who do not know of Mr Suzuki, he is the father of a global musical instruction movement which posits that everyone has the aptitude  and is capable of reaching a decent level of musicianship with consistent effort and  practice. Teaching begins young, and employs a methodical progression focused upon sound and mastery and continued practice of prior achievements. It is wonderfully Japanese, in the the most admiring sense – the love part of my love/hate with Japan.

In the book, (which I recommend to everyone whether they are interested in music or not) he recounts an anecdote from his days at the Nagoya Commericial School where he was class president for four years running. The motto of the school was “First Character, Then Ablity”. Noble enough. And so he explains:

During the final examinations, one of the students whom I shall call A, was discovered by B to be cheating and B announced the fact loudly to the teacher in charge. A was then sent out o the classroom, which was by then in an uproar. But when the examination was over, and as soon as the studentswere out in the passage, another student C, leaped upon informer B, a big boy, asking him what kind of friends he thought he was, and hit him. The others joined in and they all gave ‘B’ a sound thrashing. I was still in the classroom. It all happened in the twinkling of an eye. Presently they sent for me, the class president to come to the faculty rom. “What is meaning of this outrageous attack? Were you aware of it?”

Suzuki replied (and recall that he is a pacifist, a thoroughly gentle human being with the highest moral character displayed is countless ways throughout his life):

Suzuki: “I was. I struck him too.”

Faculty: What? who are the students that struck him?

Suzuki: All the members of the class, Sir.

Faculty: And you think you did right, do you?

Suzuki: I do not sir. I think it was wrong to cheat. But I think it was extremely unfriendly to report him sir. Please punish us….

If only Hohn had learned violin the Suzuki-way, he could have saved his investors a lot of money, not to mention loss of face….

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