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News & Insight

No Jail Time for Olympus Execs Involved in $1.7 Billion Accounting Scandal

By fotosiamo on July 3rd 2013

Former Olympus Execs: Kikukawa, Yamada, and Mori

Former Olympus Execs (left to right): Olympus President Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former Corporate Auditor Hideo Yamada, and former Executive Vice President Hisashi Mori (Picture courtesy of Olympus Corp. and The Asahi Shimbun)

The Japanese court system has reached a decision in the staggering $1.7 billion accounting fraud scandal that rocked Olympus near the end of 2011. That scandal involved the executives’ decision to cover up the $1.7 billion investment losses that spanned 13 years from the 1990s. It was not until Michael Woodford, Olympus’ CEO and President at the time, was fired and subsequently revealed Olympus’ questionable practice of falsifying its financial reports.

The decision by Tokyo District Judge Hiroaki Saito on July 2nd 2013 may prove to be an unpopular decision to investors who are demanding justice.

The company itself received a $7 million fine, while the former Olympus Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, the former Olympus Executive Vice President Hihashi Mori and former auditing officer Hideo Yamada all received suspended sentences instead of jail time.

According to, the decision was made because it was their predecessors former Olympus presidents Masatoshi Kishimoto and Toshiro Shimoyama who “made the decision to hide the losses” and that Kikukawa and Yamada “weren’t involved in the decision making process to hide the losses.” Judge Saito further stated that “they were distressed and didn’t benefit personally from hiding losses. Mori followed their order.”

Surprisingly, since the wake of the scandal, Olympus has introduced a handful of very well-received photography products like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Olympus M.ZUIKO 75mm f/1.8 Portrait Lens. Subsequently, the company has fared well in the Tokyo financial market, with its shares doubling in the past 12 months.

Recently, Sony announced its acquisition in Olympus and both companies have since been working together in sharing and co-developing their technology.

So readers, what do you think of this scandal? Are you glad that it’s over? Do you feel that justice was not served? How do you feel about Olympus and its future?


Joe is a rising fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs. Be sure to check out his work at and connect with him on Google Plus and on Facebook

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa


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  2. Joe 2749662

    Another example of judicial mal-practice. It is clear to any man that the driver of a get-away car is still guilty of the same crime as the accomplice. That is because the driver knowingly applies his skills in the getaway. The principles of this scenario apply here. The three men from Olympus had to have knowingly applied some skill in the cover up, otherwise, one or all of them would have been the whistle blowers. The burning question for me is, “…how much did it cost?” to get such a sweet judgement.

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