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Noah Smith

Japan's Enron Reckoning

Better corporate governance is the answer.
If only the innovation were limited to tech.

If only the innovation were limited to tech.

Photographer: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

More than a dozen years ago, the U.S. experienced a rash of high-profile accounting scandals. Now it's Japan's turn. Toshiba, one of the country's largest technology firms and an internationally respected brand, revealed that it had systematically overstated its operating profits to the tune of about $1.2 billion during a seven-year stretch. The company's chief executive officer, a number of other high-ranking executives and half of the company's board has resigned. 

The Toshiba scandal isn't the first big case of Japanese corporate fraud to come to light in recent years. In October 2011, CEO Michael Woodford (no relation to the economist of the same name) blew the whistle on accounting fraud at his own company, optical equipment manufacturer Olympus. The fallout from that debacle is still unfolding