Resignation of Japanese Economy Minister over bribery allegations

On 29 January 2016, Akira Amari, minister for the economy and fiscal policy, resigned over allegations made in a Japanese magazine that he had accepted a bribe.

Mr Amari and his office are alleged to have accepted at least JPY 12 million (US$103,000) from a construction company based in Chiba prefecture, in return for favours relating to land ownership. Mr Amari has acknowledged that he received money, saying he instructed his staff to declare it as a political donation, but that they subsequently mishandled the matter.  He denies the allegations of bribery, and claims he resigned to demonstrate responsibility for his office's mismanagement. 

Mr Amari's resignation is anticipated to have a significant impact on Japan's economic policy, as he has played an instrumental role in building Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic regime. 

Mr Amari's successor will be Nobuteru Ishihara, a former minister for the environment.

Ex-CEO Michael Woodford sues Olympus in UK

On 14 January 2016, Michael Woodford, the ex-CEO of Olympus Corporation, filed civil proceedings against Olympus in the UK on 14 January 2016, according to UK court records.  Mr Woodford acted as whistleblower on the US$1.7 billion accounting fraud at the company in 2011.  He previously settled an employment claim against the company in 2012.       

We have previously reported several times on the long-running accounting fraud and resultant legal proceedings against Olympus Corporation.