Japan's AIJ chief admits loss cover-up, apologizesI was watching snippets from the hearing yesterday on NHK -- and I would not characterize the attitude of Mr. Asakawa as apologetic. Oh, he may have mouthed phrases that when translated by a machine would scroll out as apologies. His attitude, however, said, "Yeah, I lost your money. But then you were stupid enough to give it to me. Who is the jackass here?"
The president of Tokyo-based money manager AIJ Investment Advisors admitted to Japanese lawmakers on Tuesday to covering up losses of $1.3 billion in clients' pension money, but said he had no intention of cheating his clients.
In his first public comment since the scandal broke in February, Kazuhiko Asakawa apologized to clients and the financial industry for the cover-up and said he had been confident that the losses could be recovered.
AIJ lost the funds through bad bets on equity and bond derivatives, wiping out the bulk of the $2.4 billion in client assets it was managing, Japan's financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), said last week.
More than 90 corporate pension funds, mostly smaller ones, were invested with the money manager, which was handling pensions for about 880,000 people.
"I want to use this opportunity to apologize to all beneficiaries who believed in our funds and purchased them," Asakawa told a financial committee of parliament...
As for the other executives called to testify, including Old Boy advisor from the old Social Insurance Agency, when they claimed that if they had to choose between calling themselves victims (higaisha) and perpetrators (kagaisha), they would call themselves victims -- that was rich.
Prior to yesterday's performance, I was thinking, "For their sakes, Asakawa and his cronies had better hope beyond hope that none of the small- and medium-sized companies they bilked has ties to organized crime." After last night's performances, I found myself thinking, "For their sakes, they had better hope beyond hope that none of the 880,000 investors whose savings they destroyed watches television."