Monday, January 23, 2006

Horie and Livedoor

Right now they are chasing the car carrying Horie with a helicopter. He has either been arrested, or is being taken down for more intense questioning about his business tactics.

I have no idea whether he has committed a crime or not, but I feel like I need to comment on the media attention this whole thing is receiving. The charges against him amount to 'cooking the books' in order to inflate his company's stock price. What we have on TV right now is a replay of something out of the OJ Simpson chronicles - except for the fact that Horie is already in police custody.

Horie has always walked on the wild side by Japanese business standards. He plays hardball, and seems to understand the nature of business a little bit better than many of his rivals. He has made a hobby out of buying companies, and springing surprise takeover moves during after-hours trading on the stock market. He does things his way - he rarely wears a tie - and as a result, a lot of people in Japan don't really like him very much.

I'm not proclaiming his innocence here, but I will say that we probably won't make it through the week without another corporate or government scandal being uncovered. A little bit of perspective is needed here. If the media decides to tackle someone over here, they go for the knees. And that is exactly what they seem to be doing right now. The more optimistic observer might comment that this is a sign of things to come. "All bigwigs, corporate and political, will be shot down if they try to operate above the law" some might suggest.

Maybe it's because I'm appreciative of the ruckus he caused in Japanese baseball a couple of years ago that I'm sympathizing with him now. However, he hasn't even been charged yet, so I think we should give him a break. By what I'm seeing on TV right now, you could excuse the casual observer for thinking that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces just found Osama bin Laden hiding out on top of Mt. Fuji.

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