BOOK REVIEW: APOLOGIES AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE IN THE JAPANESE CONTEXT -- TATSUMI TANAKA'S SONNA SHAZAI DE WA KAISHA GA ABUNAI [APOLOGIZING THAT WAY WILL ENDANGER YOUR COMPANY] 1 Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) Foundation for International Law and Management, Inc.
Brigham Young University International Law & Management Review

BOOK REVIEW: APOLOGIES AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE IN THE JAPANESE CONTEXT -- TATSUMI TANAKA'S SONNA SHAZAI DE WA KAISHA GA ABUNAI [APOLOGIZING THAT WAY WILL ENDANGER YOUR COMPANY] 1

Spring, 2007

3 BYU Int'l L. & Mgmt. Rev. 303

Author

Reviewed by Colin P.A. Jones *

Excerpt

In his book about corporate governance and corporate social responsibility in Japan, Tatsumi Tanaka provides practical business advice with legal ramifications. The book, entitled Apologizing that Way Will Endanger Your Company, analyzes public apologies and the harm companies (and their managers) often inflict by apologizing the wrong way. Anyone familiar with Japanese news programs have likely seen footage of corporate executives standing up and bowing toward the cameras while apologizing for a company mistake. For example, leaked customer information, defective products, some type of fraud, or perhaps employees behaving badly. Many viewers--foreign and Japanese alike--regard these scenes as part of a quaint Japanese ritual. Tatsumi Tanaka shows that these corporate apologies involve much more than the ten or fifteen seconds of bowing that people see on television. Far from being a mere ritual, an apology is a serious matter. Apologies serve an important role during a company's response to a crisis. A corporation must be prepared for a number of issues that might arise in a potentially lengthy press conference: unpleasant questions, difficult disclosure issues, and the proper way to manage the public airing of a corporation's dirty laundry. A company must handle all of these issues properly to minimize the risk of future legal sanctions, damage to reputation, and other potential harms.

Thus, there is an art to apologizing; a badly executed mea culpa can doom a company or its high-level executives. Tanaka should know; a graduate of Keio University's prestigious faculty of law, ...
 
 
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