Masaharu Hamada, a good salesman with experience in the U.S., was demoted by Olympus Corp. as reprisal for relaying supplier complaints to management regarding corrupt business practices. But he fought back and Japan’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the whistleblower for the first time. This case highlights the harsh treatment that outspoken employees have endured in a nation that zealously values loyalty and conformity.
1. How long was Hamada’s battle against the company? What type of protection would a whistleblower have in the U.S.?
2. What were some of the punishments for whistleblowers in the past in corporate Japan?
3. Explain the basic facts of why Olympus has been in the news recently regarding an accounting fraud and cover-up.
Associated Press Staff. (2012). Japan whistleblower wins in Supreme Court in nation first as judge dismisses Olympus appeal. The Washington Post, June 30 (Retrievable online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/japan-whistleblower-wins-in-supreme-court-dismisses-olympus-appeal-in-a-nation-first/2012/06/30/gJQAC41vCW_story.html)